On Jan. 30, Lipscomb’s Department of Visual Arts revived its Visiting Artist Program with a talk hosted by nationally influential artist Glexis Novoa. Novoa also hosted a workshop on campus the following day for art students and professors.
Born in Cuba in 1964, Novoa spends half his time working in Cuba and half in Miami. Since the late 1980s, he has produced art in many different media, including painting, performance, installation and, most recently, graphite drawings—the material that has become his trademark.
Cliff Tierney, associate professor in the department of visual arts, said he brought Novoa to campus because he’s a very important contemporary artist and he even uses some of Novoa’s work as a prompt for projects in his courses.
“It's important for my students to understand the world better through the art they see and the people they meet that will inform the art that they will make,” said Tierney. “Bringing someone in like Glexis Novoa was a no-brainer for me but for him it was a highly satisfying experience which makes me proud of my students, faculty, staff and university as a whole.”
During his talk, Novoa took the audience through different periods of his work, starting in the late 1980s and ending with his work today.
“In the beginning of my career—which was in the late 80s—artists wanted to challenge the institution,” Novoa said. “We wanted to be revolutionaries in the way we tried to fix social and political problems through our art. We were trying to create a voice through our art.”
Novoa’s works are heavily influenced by the rise in political powers in Cuba and the effects of living in a socialist country. Although his influences were not limited to solely Cuban government.
As Novoa traveled the world and redefined his art, he continued to see similar social and political problems in other countries. His works today focus on the conversion of fascism and communism as well as the fall of great powers all over the world in a futuristic/sci-fi setting.
Novoa told the audience that he strives to create conversation through his work, his goal is to get his audience talking about what they see, what they think it means and make them interact together.
“We create new ascetics, new language to express ideas to the world, not just to the Cuban government, but to the world,” said Novoa. “It’s very important for any artists to speak wider than just what is in front of them. It’s important to create a new language to express their ideas to the world.”
“Glexis brought a different point of view both socially and artistically that our students need to hear,” said Tierney. “He was able to discuss the pressure and the promise of being a professional artist in the 21st century.”
Housed in the College of Entertainment & the Arts, the Visiting Artist Program exists to educate and foster a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through critical discourse.
The Visiting Artist Program will continue on March 9 with infographic designer, entrepreneur and artist Nicholas Felton. For more information, click here.
For more information about the Department of Visual Arts and its Visiting Arts Program, visit: www.lipscomb.edu/art.