Disclaimer: Forgive us for this lowbrow reference used to describe an exceptionally superb collection of artwork.
During a recent visit to G Gallery in the Heights, we were reminded earlier today of the movie Joe Versus the Volcano starring Tom Hanks as the downtrodden Joe, who slaves away in a dreadful job that makes him want to die. His work environment is depressing, to say the least; the hum of the fluorescent lights drones into Joe's skull and the aura they emit is painfully blinding. Joe needs to escape. He does so via a one-way ticket into a volcano, as a human sacrifice. Despite this atrocious way to go, Joe's life becomes filled with light and joy; he is free.
Currently on display at G Gallery is a collection of work by San Antonio-based artist Jerry Cabrera entitled "Escapism." The work is instantly grabbing, yet it's difficult to describe what is so attractive about it. Lengthwise panes of canvas are painted in crescendoing hues, some monochromatic, others complements on the color wheel. Reds turn into oranges turn into yellows. Where the colors meet in the center is a bright, white strip of paint, piercing enough to appear glowing. It's the white light that you follow to heaven, or to freedom.
As the story of this collection goes, Cabrera visited a concentration camp in Germany and was struck by just how important light must have been to the prisoners. Light equaled hope and a better world that awaited them outside their horrific confines.
Each piece in the collection is as striking as the next. Some are multi-paneled, others long strips. To the distant eye, one might think they were spray-painted, but each is carefully hand-painted; small-bristled brushes can give that effect.
"Escapism" is definitely worth a stop into the G Gallery, which is conveniently located in the Historic Heights. But be warned: The work may make you want to hop on the next bus to find your own little bright-white escape.
"Escapism," a collection of work by Jerry Cabrera, is on display at G Gallery, 301 East 11th Street, through February 26, noon to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. Free for viewing, all pieces are for sale.