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tierra de GIGANTES | Iván Carmona

October 13, 2021 - November 15, 2021

A curvy, ruby red vase takes on distorted and jumbled, caricature-esc features of a devil, including horns and a cartoony grin.

PDX CONTEMPORARY ART is pleased to present tierra de GIGANTES, a solo exhibition of new ceramics by Iván Carmona. Based on his experiences growing up in Puerto Rico, each of Iván Carmona’s sculptures abstracts his own memories and nostalgia through use of biomorphic forms, saturated colors, and tactile surfaces. The works are representative of his own personal experiences, which come together to reconstruct the landscape and culture of his homeland, manifesting a synesthetic fantasy of shape and color.

tierra de GIGANTES is a reflection of the landscapes of Puerto Rican culture through the eyes of a child. The sculptures are built from the memories from town festivals, Fiestas Patronales, which honored patron saints. During this colorful time, costumed characters called Vejigantes and Cabezudos join the crowds in singing and dancing. The Vejigante, a demon figure from medieval Spanish folklore, dresses in a horned mask and flowing attire. Los Cabezudos, or “Big Heads,” are gigantic caricatures of popular figures, including politicians, athletes, artists, and other public figures. As they dance in the streets, the beat and rhythm of the Pleneras and African drums feel like steps of the giants.

The Puerto Rican town of Carolina is known as “La Tierra de Gigantes” (The Land of Giants), in honor of one of its inhabitants, one of the tallest men in Puerto Rican history. But the phrase is also used for Puerto Rico itself, an expression to describe the richness of architecture, culture, and tradition. At double and triple the scale of his previous work, Carmona’s freestanding sculptures and wall mounted reliefs embody the memories of Vejigantes and Cabezudos and of the majestic, dense landscape and rich history and culture of Puerto Rico.

Iván Carmona lives and works in Portland, Oregon. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, a small town located near the national rain forest, El Yunque. Carmona received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon. He has been awarded the 2020 Hallie Ford Fellowship and his works are included in the collections of the Boise Art Museum (Boise, ID), Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Collection (Portland, OR), King County

Public Art Collection (King County, WA), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), the Regional Arts & Culture Council Portable Art Collection (Multnomah County, OR) and Colección de Cerámica Contemporánea Puertorriqueña (San Juan, PR).

The exhibition is on view October 13 – November 13, Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.


October 13, 2021
November 15, 2021
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Wheelchair accessible, Service Animals allowed
BIPOC artist(s), Women-owned, Women curated, LGBTQIA+ artist(s)
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art
Pandemic Info


1825 NW Vaughn Street, Suite B
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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