Since his early career in Cuba, as part of the artist collaborative Ordo Amoris Cabinet, Acea has expressed interest in culture and economics with a focus on communication and coding systems. As a solo artist, and after coming to the U.S. in 2003, Acea’s attention has turned toward American consumerism and symbols of value.
The show’s title, D.B.A., Doing Business As, sets the tone for Acea’s playfully provocative and subversive commentary. In a high tech, consumer-driven culture, “DBA” is a universal phrase. It also alludes to the dual nature of the art world itself – addressing the blurred lines between the creative artistic process and the business market. Acea explains that his work, ”...examines critical representations of value in the contemporary marketplace, establishing a parallel between the notions of value in art, and the psychology behind collecting it.”
Five striking black on white paintings, from The Icon Series, dominate the gallery space (each 65” x 65”). The black marker on canvas Icons range from the more overt Money, a dollar sign with horns at the top that can be interpreted as either the devil or merely a cash cow, to Mickey Cookie, an outline of the iconic Mickey Mouse with a bite taken out. The icons draw the viewer in to re-examine these familiar symbols, to peel back the layers and see beyond the everyday familiarity.
Visitors are invited to take off their shoes and step onto Solid Ground, a layer of approximately $1,000 – $1,500 worth of pennies covering the floor. Another piece, Golden Years, is a gold-plated TV antenna (8×8 x 10’) of which Acea aptly states, “Information defines the future of a nation. It can make a man wealthy as well as doom another man’s fate. Information is not abstract it is modulated by channels. It holds Meaning. Meaning is coded in Symbols. Symbols are representations of Concepts. Concepts are abstract definitions of Ideas. Ideas are expressed in Art. Art is valuable Information. Valuable Information is not publicly accessible. This golden antenna symbolizes that: having access to information; understanding what it means to have access to information; owning channels of information; having time; having wealth. This is the Information Era, these are our Golden Years.”