EDUARDO SARMIENTO: PASIONS, BEASTS AND OTHER TONGUES – by Janet Batet

The work of Eduardo Sarmiento (Cienfuegos, 1980), who lives and works in Miami, is a vivid expression of the so-called urban chronicle. His paintings and drawings are the propitious correlation to our fears and prejudices. Inspired form cliché characters imbued with storytelling and wit, his artwork is always a celebration to our existence: expression of our most primitive instincts and intense passions.

Such is the case of his solo exhibition “Burning In His Own Hell” open to the public at Edge Zones Art Center and curated by Joaquin Badajoz and Carlos Luna. Delving into the world of Sarmiento is an experience not without risks. We approach a slippery slope: taboo subjects that the artist strips out of all sententious tone providing them with an air of amusement and sarcasm. Lust then becomes a cornerstone sustaining a very personal iconography where tongues of fire, roses, penises, knives, dogs panting, sharp breasts, horns, snakes and ladders seduce us fueling desire.

From the formal standpoint, the work of Sarmiento is strident. Colors scream. The glowing orange, yellow and red, far from toning down with the blue and purple, spread out in their entire splendor tempting us to contagious. There is much of the French Fauvism in these explosive colors where dare is essential. Then, the semantic analogy emerges: fauve in French means wild beast. The capricious detail becomes indispensable key for the understanding of Sarmiento’s artwork that is mostly a unique bestiary through which the artist recreates mythological characters inspired in our daily life: The truth to our innermost fantasies and desires.

Its graceful characters are typically caricatures. They owe largely to the pop, the comics, the world of design and illustration, areas in which the artist has formal background. Accordingly, this iconic characters, act as entelechy of desire: Dual symbols -bizarre and grotesque creatures- that speak to us about obscenity, carnality and sin. The use of mythological icons like the snake and the dragon emphasize this sense of bestiary as well as titles that occasionally introduce a pretended moralistic sense in the midst of these unparalleled urban myths where often the artist is the protagonist.

“Burning In His Own Hell” is an appealing exhibition with high doses of humor. Urban chronicle of our sexual urges and desires, Sarmiento’s solo show is an unbiased contemporary bestiary that with frankness and without remorse opens and liberates us.


Janet Batet

Miami, June 27th, 2010
El Nuevo Herald