I thought I would share some history of an artist that I respect and I feel applies the power of colour and its transformative qualities to poignant effect and affect.
Text by Victor Cabello
Feeling the deep summer heat reflected off Miami’s art deco brilliance artist Miriam Cabello prepares to mingle with the lauded and hopeful at the American Institute of Architects annual conference. A breeze coloured by cool deco and grand streetscapes reminds her of UTS’s inspiring Gehry transformation. “I felt initially overwhelmed but seeing Miami’s architecture and being here to collect an award made me feel like both UTS and I were ready to embark on new, exciting adventures.”
In 1971, Miriam’s parents fled the impending omnipotence of Chile’s dictatorship. They arrived to Australia with fifty cents, high hair, aspirations of further education and a longing for avocados. Miriam was six. Early on she discovered her symbiotic relationship with art and forged a vision to embrace art, design and business. This lead her to undertake a post graduate degree of design at the Tower (UTS). The growth of the graphic design business, which she developed with her brother Victor Cabello, was acknowledged at the 2002 Australian Micro Business Awards (Winner: NSW Creative Arts Category). Over time she was able to spend more time with her true companion, oil painting. Since 2005 she has dedicated herself full time to her art and recognition has followed. Miriam has been a finalist in the Blake Prize and Mandorla Prize. She has been a winner of the Manhattan Arts International, exhibited in Barcelona, and was a winner at the Florence Biennale where art legend Christo presented her award.
“I feel comfort in the scents of Miami’s Latino culture.” At the awards ceremony Miriam’s nervousness drifts away. She receives international recognition for the painting installation ‘Station II: The Betrayal,’ birthed in Sydney at the Uniting Church, Waterloo. Her series the ‘Stations of the Cross’ is a contemporary melange of master techniques and innate expression that elevates figures traditionally seen in art as ‘other’ to that of Christ and his disciples. Her passion for the Civil Rights movement found a voice in the oral history of individuals such as Dave Sands an Indigenous boxing legend. Her black Jesus has the power to resonate, challenge and shift peoples ideals as confirmed by the Jury’s comments “Exhibiting these paintings in a church invites interpretations that reflect the changing times and the social context. The work is thought provoking and makes a powerful statement, recasting the Stations of the Cross as a contemporary and relevant experience.”
The boxer now informs ‘White Rope’, her new series exploring the robust male and how society has created and disarmed him. She paints her emotive portraits using glazed transparent layers and only three colours. The focus is on the individual and like Michelangelo’s David physicality does not make the task ahead less daunting. A challenge is something Miriam has always embraced and she anticipates exporting the two series to New York. White Rope (Series I) has sold out in Sydney and she is currently in negotiations to exhibit the Stations series in two culturally significant galleries in Manhattan. The exhibitions are scheduled for 2012 with shows for her White Rope series scheduled in Melbourne and Canberra followed by the exciting opportunity of participating in the Brooklyn Dumbo Arts Festival, 2011.
As a UTS Alumni she is elated at the response from gallerists in New York and is committed to sharing her adventures with her colleagues, “I shall have stories from our Broadway to Brooklyn.”