Fernando Delgado: Compositions

Date June 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts


Some of Fernando Delgado's photographs seem to convey the Futurists' intent to portray the motion of objects. Though few viewers will have the practical experience to guess it, some of the objects in this show are vintage ceramic flower arrangement forms of the 1940s and 1950s. By an intuitional and disciplined method of cropping and careful selection of camera angle, and a rigorous attention to spatial intervals, Delgado has succeeded beautifully in vivifying these abstracted forms. The show is presented in three categories: white, black, and color. Composition No.3 Peace, a creamy, white photograph, has a cleansed quality and captivating immediacy by virtue of its spare economy. Being without a conceptual context, the perceived form allows the shape and the texture to pop forth; the balance and rightness of "no waste"€ unexpectedly produce a faintly erotic feeling of generous expansiveness. The idea of a pair of futuristic breasts comes to mind. Composition No. K3, another white image, is more ambitious. The shadings and lines of the form exist in just the right atmosphere and combination to produce a musicality and complexity that, however abstract, still suggest a monumental architecture, among other things. Emphasis is a great virtue of abstraction, and in this photograph it asserts a feeling of glamorous unity and pleasant mystery. Homage, an example from the "black"€ category, is a grouping of four images-geometric, sculptural metal forms-two on two, each one separately outlined by a two inch frame. There are just enough irregularities in each of these to suggest human-hand tamperings, but they are first and foremost impersonal statements of sleek, futuristic artifacts meant to function as part of a machine. Nonetheless, they are cool and futuristic in an old-fashioned kind of way, if only because machine parts, fashioned from metal, suggest something almost quaint in the mind-made, virtual world. In the color category, La Gran Noticia suggests a feeling of nakedness. The monumental presenceof a looming, portentous, flame red shape-looking somewhat like a gigantic stylized, rubber tooth-hangs over the barest sliver of a shadow. Both "tooth"€ and shadow are set against a background of graded, mustard yellow intensity, all to humorous, almost cartoonish effect.

Fernando Delgado was born in Cuba, studied in New York, and subsequently worked there as an art director for twenty-five years-in effect, twenty-five years of honing his compositional sense and applying that sophisticated visual instinct to others' work. Apparently drawn to abstraction as a process of elimination and emphasis, he first began to create his own images-that is, the photographs in this exhibition-in 2004, and altogether they offer many satisfying instances of understanding abstract structures through elegant shadow and a subtle, discerning wit.