Who is Franck de las Mercedes?
He’s an internationally recognized artist who is known for creating conceptual abstractions with text and highly-saturated color. His work entitled “Urbetivism,” is inspired by New York City and his birthplace Nicaragua.
Franck exhibited his Urbetivism paintings for the first time at his open studio on June 16 during “The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance’s 16th annual Uptown Arts Stroll,” an annual summer event in New York City in the Washington Heights, Inwood, and West Harlem neighborhoods. The stroll showcases the painters, photographers, writers, musicians, sculptors, actors, dancers and filmmakers in Northern Manhattan and the exhibit will run through June 30, 2018.
His New York City studio is the backdrop for an array of multifaceted work that incorporates painting, collage, drawing, photography, and writing and combines abstract figuration, journal entry, and hieroglyphic-like text, in energetic abstractions bursting with color to create an intensely emotional urban landscape. Fragments of current events, family dynamics, and books explore the contrast between memory and present-day cultural context.
Franck derives imagery from a variety of sources that include candid photographs, art journals, and studies. The exhibit as a whole is a continuation of his signature style that utilizes palette knives to apply abstract text an sharp black lines. He regards the new series as his “coloring book on canvas.”
“In this new series, I continue to work with my urban roots and influences, while now incorporating elements of Nicaraguan Primitivism as reference. I’m also exploring concepts in world mythology to find similarities in everyday life or to comment on current events,” Franck said. “It’s not a total departure from my previous body of work, since the representational has always emerged in some way. But in the new paintings I’m allowing the subjects to become the central point, in order to engage the viewer with the story. Something I came to realize I could only accomplish by breaking from abstraction.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Franck achieved worldwide in 2006 with his conceptual art project “The Priority Boxes,” a public project conceived as a way to promote peace through participatory free art. The project has been refashioned as a teaching tool for educators, community centers, and art therapy counselors across the United States. He has been featured in several well-respected publications and on television shows. The list includes CBS Sunday Morning, Complex magazine, CNN, Reader’s Digest, The Daily Beast, Good Day NY, Aqui y Ahora and The Christian Science Monitor.
Recent exhibitions are Sing for Hope Pianos 2017, The 5th Bronx Latin American Art Biennial, Queens Museum, BronxArtSpace, The Joan Mitchel Foundation, The Artists Unite MTA Poster Project, The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt New York, The NY Museum of Modern Art’s “Abstract Currents”, BKLYN Designs, Naples Museum of Art, Folklore Museum of Tripotamos Greece, The National College of Ireland, Ireland and The French Institute Alliance Française. His work is also a part of the Fundación Francisco de Quevedo’s permanent collection in Ciudad Real, Spain.
Learn more about Franck at https://www.franckdelasmercedes.com/