The work of Miami-based Cuban-American art duo Guerra de la Paz (which translates to "war of peace") first caught the eye of Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design gallery director Cortney Stell at Art Basel Miami Beach -- so much so that she was driven to make a cold call to invite them to RMCAD. "I thought their work blew the rest of the entire fair away," she says.
While the artists, Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz, collaborate on sculpture, painting, photography and video, it's the first of these -- large message-sending installations formed from mounds of cast-off clothing -- for which they're best known, and as Stell soon found out, the works are not easy to move.
For one thing, they have to remain upright in transit, so "my husband and I flew down to Miami, rented an eighteen-foot Budget truck, packed it up and drove it to Denver," Stell says. "I have never felt so dedicated before." Eventually they'll drive them back, but first the sculptures will go on display in Guerra de la Paz: Until Now.
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"There's a humanist aspect to their work," says Stell, "and there's also no mystery behind the work. You can see exactly how its made -- by mounding and layering and sculpting and coloring the used clothing -- and, as such, it has a presence. They really believe the materials hold energies left over from their previous use as clothing that was later taken from the people who discarded it."