Betto Ortiz Columbian-born Betto travels the world with his camera in-hand, capturing situations familiar to local subjects yet seemingly exotic to our eyes. In Exotic Textures, Betto’s work quietly slips into the realm of abstraction and integrates the smooth surfaces of large (20”x30”) photographs with the three dimensional texture of mixed-media matting. The photographs notably refuse to dwell in, or reflect upon, the panoramas often associated with documentary-based, travel photography. Betto deliberately eschews capturing large-scale, narrative images, focusing instead upon the nuances of color, shape and texture. This abstraction is further heightened by the use of handmade, collaged matting formed by hundreds of miniscule photographs covered in layers of vibrantly colored acrylic paint. While Betto steadfastly refuses to digitally manipulate or otherwise enhance the content of his photographs, the unique acrylic design of the matting infuses his latest work with a three-dimensional depth not normally associated with photography.
According to Eric Hope, the Project’s curator, Betto’s abstract style brings a fresh, exciting perspective to how we experience foreign, “exotic” imagery . “An old dingy laying discarded on a sunny Columbian beach becomes an interplay between fading patterns of reds, whites and browns and the rough wood underneath, highlighted by an unrelenting sun and undulating line of sand. Likewise, a chandelier in Geneva’s cathedral is reduced to an interplay between the competing hues of dark blues on the ceiling and the light sconces,” states Hope. “By focusing on these abstract details, Betto’s photographs demand us to let go of our need to assign these images to one specific point on a map. In stripping the image of its concrete, local identity Betto invites the viewer to slowly savor the resulting impressions that lay underneath and reassess their notions of what constitutes ‘exotic’."
Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 1 - 4pm
Evolve Urban Arts Project
1375 Maryland Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002