Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

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Vincent van Gogh noted that great things are accomplished when small things coming together. It has been proposed throughout the course of western philosophy that the way humans take-in information through the senses, is in parts. In packets. In pieces. And over the course of the last century, these ideas have begun to play themselves out: even on the molecular level, our picture of life as a fragmented-whole is beginning to bear weight.

And while we could become prolix about this topic and every other one laced within it, Lui Ferreyra is not. Instead, he’s painting big, huge work that is articulating all of these ideas – in practical terms. In spacious, sometimes overwhelming works that have captured both national and local attention – works that have escalated him to the top of our visual artist hierarchy here in Denver.

In all reality, Lui Ferreyra should have gone to New York or Los Angeles to accept his fame, in money and plaques. Since Kindergarten Ferreyra was the “the artist”. He was the one who could draw with a superior aptitude and implicitly understood elements of composition and color. But when you have a pronounced talent like Ferreyra did, at such a young age, expectations can arise. Pigeons to fly you into holes will surface. But while one’s talent could lead them to these places of high expectations – from themselves and the world around them – Ferreyra never seemed to feel much of this pressure. Despite the fact that his art took on a life of its own through his adolescence, he did not attend art school but went instead for a rounded university education.

Instead of fame and fortune through his work, it appears that miraculously – with his wealth of talent – Ferreyra prefers to keep his head down and remain blue-collar about his work. Instead of either of the coasts, he has chosen to remain in Denver. In this wisdom, he believes that everything will fall into place, if one stays in this space of working hard.

While in college, Ferreyra showed internationally – in Chile and Mexico City. But when his academic career came to a close – so did his pursuit of painting. Instead of continuing onward and being “the artist”, he found refuge in becoming a designer for a video game company. In part, Ferreyra felt as though he’d mastered the style he’d grew into. He didn’t see another place to go with his work. In this, he became not only discontented, but disinterested.

Then, in a conversation with his old friend and Denver painter, Wes Magyar, Ferreyra began to cultivate a new style that began in a plane. Flying high over the endlessly stretching farms of the eastern plains, Ferreyra saw something anew. He saw the world as abstract. He saw squares and circles and lines and shapes and colors and shades of those colors. He saw parts and pieces making a whole.

Here, Lui Ferreyra began to see the world as we all fundamentally do: as fragmented. This is vision as putting together shapes and pieces. It’s about taking life, not in large chunks – but in small components and seeing that everything is inextricably integrated. And while Ferreyra doesn’t claim to be making any grand, polarizing statement with his beautiful “found” paradigm – his work is about exploration. It’s about zooming-in, looking inward.

Immediately, Ferreyra became rejuvenated and new work began propelling from his studio. He had his first show since the video game job in 2002. Then, in 2004 he received his first patronship. In 2005 he began showing at Sandy Carson’s respected gallery. And then everything fell into place, sort of. Ferreyra’s work began selling at top dollar in Denver. Highly respected, national publications came calling. And while this all served as a testament to the fact that he was producing solid work – the realization that Ferreyra was granted was one that spoke of the adversity and toil in trying to make a living as an artist, and an artist alone.

Like his paintings, Ferreyra’s days are now a bit fragmented. Interestingly-enough he is working in the kind of place where his new fragmented style came from: the land, nature. He is helping design and construct custom landscapes. He has a girlfriend. He is a musician. He is a graphic designer.

But still, Ferreyra is pushing his work and his “found” paradigm. He is loosening-up his work a little more. He is using his references to assist. He is opening-up eyes, the clothing, the landscapes. And while he isn’t sure what, exactly, he or his work is going after – he is finding solace in the organics of the work, of his process and of his connectedness to life through work and experience.

Stay tuned for Ferreyra’s upcoming work and new exhibitions, here: www.luiferreyra.com.