Future Exhibition

The Allure of Unfathomable Industry: Rafael Vargas Bernard

November 9, 2019 - January 5, 2020
Opening Reception:
Saturday, November 9, 2019
5 – 8 pm

FREE for Members | $10 for Non-members

Artist Talk with Rafael Vargas Bernard
Sunday, January 5 | 2 pm

Sensors catch your movement, altering pitch and frequency as you approach propped paintings with drips and marks. With a balance of works that shift our perception of physical space and invite us to pick up headphones and participate, Rafael Vargas Bernard employs readily accessible technologies to create interactive experiences that provoke dialogue and action.

Vargas Bernard utilizes digital art and new media, such as sound, video and programming, to explore functional and non-functional systems – including power structures, economic systems and generative systems – and society’s relationship with these entities. One subject in Vargas Bernard’s work explores Tether, Bitfinex, and the Bitcoin bubble burst as markets of chaos and confusion. Some pieces require direct or indirect participation, and most incorporate a generative digital, electrical, or mechanical system. All produce sounds. His paintings contain images made by a programmed and glitched vertical plotter based on the wind directions and trajectory of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico. The artist also utilizes abstracted photographs taken from different Puerto Rican citizens’ Facebook accounts. These references to real events attest to the fragile relationship between humans and natural disaster.

Rafael Vargas Bernard is the Community Coordinator at Mana Contemporary Miami, where he maintains his own studio. A native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, he was selected to exhibit as part of Solo Focus – Global Vision at Volta New York 2019, a contemporary art fair comprised of solo projects by leading and emerging international artists. Vargas Bernard studied computer engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and sculpture at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico, and La Práctica at Beta Local (Puerto Rico). He participated in 2017 in Focus on Puerto Rico as part of a three-month residency for emerging and mid-career Puerto Rican artists. His project, titled “Trío Little San Juan,” explored Puerto Rican culture in the Wynwood area of Miami in collaboration with three members of the local Puerto Rican community, each from a different generation.

The Allure of Unfathomable Industry is supported by a grant from the Maurer Family Foundation.