Cuban Artist And Printmaker José Julián Aguilera Vicente

See more of José Julián Aguilera Vicente’s art.


José Julián Aguilera Vicente, the Cuban engraver, is among the founders of Santiago de Cuba’s artistic community. He has struggled to ensure tuition for all those seeking instruction in the arts. Aguilera Vicente made his first drawings at José María Heredia Elementary School, and, when one of his drawings won a municipal prize and he was given a fancy sketchbook and 12 colors of tempera, then he felt his dream coming true. His family, however, was not supportive of his ambition, but his brother Paco supported his decision and Aguilera Vicente began attending art school.
His first teacher was sculptor René Valdés Cedeño who mentored him both in art and in life. Aguilera Vicente recalls, “He trained me, educated me and molded my character. In his workshop, I was his scarpellino, the one who first cuts into the stone, who sculpts the rough figure, leaving the sculptor to refine and finish it. I was with him in 1953, when he sculpted the statue of Jose Martí in Guantánamo’s Chaparra Park.”
Aguilera Vicente’s art school was located on Heredia Street, very close to Céspedes Park. There were two groups of students attending this school: those from wealthy families, and those who were going to be artists, the ragtag group. The students had to have a whole range of paint colors, but Aguilera Vicente’s group could only afford two tubes of paint apiece. When the teacher came, they all shared their paints so that everyone would have the full range of colors. The more affluent group would give them half-used tubes if they would clean up for them.
Among his fellow students was Miguel Ángel Botalín. They were poor but hardworking, and almost all of them dedicated themselves to their art; they ‘lived off’ their paintbrushes.
In 1953, Aguilera Vicente graduated from the José Joaquín Tejada School of Fine Arts in drawing and modeling. The school was founded in 1935, and in 1945 it went from being a municipal school to a provincial school. It followed the curriculum of Havana’s San Alejandro Art Academy, which was the only way for it to receive national recognition. Finally, it was given the same status as San Alejandro and was able to issue professional degrees. Unfortunately, the degrees were not honored and the graduates were not able to get jobs. This situation sparked a minor revolt and the students acted accordingly.
Aguilera Vicente remembers, “We took over the school, which at that time was located alongside the Cathedral, upstairs from what later became painter Ferrer Cabello’s studio. We had the support of the Secondary Student Association, and students at the Arts and Trades School, the Normal School and the Institute. The president of the school association led the struggle. The school’s director took our side and the president of the Arts and Trades Students Association fought against the police, who surrounded the place. We threw some benches and tools on the street and set them on fire. That was quite a spectacle, really incredible.”
The police took over the place. All Santiago took part in the struggle. I was with a group that slipped out through the adjoining building, and that’s how we escaped arrest.”
It was agreed that the administration of the school would be changed, and Antonio Ferrer Cabello was appointed director. A disciplinary council was convened, and strikers were punished in accordance with the seriousness of their actions. Aguilera Vicente was expelled for one year. Two or three years later, when things had calmed down, the degrees were recognized as equal to those of San Alejandro.
In the late 1950s Aguilera Vicente worked as a drawing teacher at the Night Normal School for just 40 pesos a month. Later, at the Neighborhood Institute, he had his first contact with engraving in a supplementary course. “I made some lithographs, but the class was mostly theory, not practical.”
The 1960 Revolution signaled a new era and Aguilera Vicente was asked to teach at the José Joaquín Tejada School of Visual Arts. At first he taught advanced sculpture but he decided to compete for the position of instructor of engraving, even though he had little formal training in the technique, and he won. In the following year, Santiago’s first exhibition of engraving was staged with more than 100 high-quality engravings from the Popular Graphic Workshop in Mexico, specializing in graphic art related to the Mexican Revolution.
Aguilera Vicente explains the personal significance of this exhibition by saying, “We examined them with a magnifying glass, discussed them, and analyzed how they had made those engravings. Then we dared to do some ourselves. I devoted myself to engraving: a sculpture takes more than a month, but an engraving can be completed in one afternoon. My engraving school was the Mexican Revolution.”
After that, Aguilera Vicente met Carmelo González, president of the Engravers Association of Cuba, who passed on his knowledge through examples. Aguilera Vicente learned in his workshop; but Carmelo dictated the theme and form one must follow to be a member of that Association, and Aguilera didn’t like that tyranny. It was his student Lesbia Vent Dumois who gave him the first technical lessons on engraving, and he began to discover German expressionism, Soviet realism, and a whole variety of techniques and resources. He was an engraving instructor, and he had to learn the craft. Little by little, incorporating what he had learned with what he believed, he was able to achieve things.
As time went on, Aguilera Vicente began to turn to wood cuts instead of steel plates. He explains the cause of this shift with this story.
“Some time ago, a girl approached me because she wanted to learn engraving; she was in her first year studying the violin. I told her that engraving is an art form like music, but it’s done by drawing and observing, and that’s why it’s a visual art. Engraving is expressed in fine lines and details. Chalcography, that is, engraving on metal, has a little relief, intaglio (depositing ink in grooves); but wood speaks to you from the moment you take the tool in your hand. You don’t ask anything of it, the wood gives you everything. When I explained that to the girl, she answered, ‘Well then, metal engraving is the violin. And wood engraving is the cello.’ She understood my explanation perfectly.
I’ve come to identify with the poetry of wood, with its natural patterns, grooves that nature made. From a certain perspective, that may be part of the message, that nostalgia, that beauty, that passion. Wood is better suited for romantic pieces. Out of that period of discovery came my first national prizewinner, Dos tintas (Two Tones). I enjoyed it from the first creative step, from the moment the idea occurred to me, selecting the materials and the format, making the preliminary sketch. It’s a magnet, a fever.
Engraving, with the expressiveness of the wood and the act of printing by hand, provides a unique textural richness. An artist can create an absolute black or a grayish black, and that is best achieved with wood. And going back to music: it’s not the saxophone that makes a good sound, it’s the saxophonist.”
Aguilera Vicente has done some unique and powerful woodcuts of cityscapes in the rain such as La lluvia en Santa Lucía (Rain in Santa Lucía) and La lluvia en Padre Pico (Rain on Padre Pico Street). He selected on of Santiago de Cuba’s most famous streets, Padre Pico for his setting. Padre Pico is an emblematic Santiago de Cuba street consisting of a long stairway spanning the steep hill between Santa Rita Street (at the top) and Santa Lucía Street (at the bottom). Such stairways are a unique characteristic of the city.
Here he explains how he became inspired to attempt an engraving which incorporates rain.
“At an engravers’ show at Casa de las Américas, I saw a piece depicting rain at a bus stop. Before that, I didn’t know that rain could be shown in engravings, because rain produces a curtain of effects that vary with its intensity. So I studied it, and I used a magnifying glass to examine the threads, and I saw that rain could be engraved. And that’s how it occurred to me to portray the rain.
First I made a drawing, but a friend of mine fell in love with it, so I gave it to him. After that, the image of the rain and the sad girl stayed in my head. I had the photographic elements of Padre Pico, with the stairway seen from above, not from below as many people view it. I had worked on the drawing, but an engraving is something very different. I had to wait until it rained, then I put on my military raincoat and went from La Alameda to El Tivolí, to the Padre Pico stairway, going down. People thought I was crazy, but I was able to see the rain falling as if in front of a lens.
In the piece there’s a girl who goes into the rain, which surprises her; she’s sad. Her face is stylized. And the rain, the difficult ascent, all the rest. I consider it the most accomplished piece I’ve done, among the many I’ve made on the theme.”
Aguilera Vicente’s expressionist work emphasizes the presence of an existential separation and fragmentation, and, as Octavio Paz pointed out fragmentation “is the most perfect and vibrant expression of our time.”

Pintor, escultor, artista gráfico, con 40 años de labor profesional y 38 de trabajo docente. Profesor de la Escuela Provincial de Artes Plásticas José Joaquín Tejada de Santiago de Cuba. Ha impartido también clases en el Departamento de Docencia artística de la Universidad de Oriente y en el Instituto Superior de Educación (ISE), entre otras instituciones. Asignaturas impartidas: Dibujo, Grabado, Apreciación de las Artes Plásticas, Técnicas de Representación, etc.
Miembro fundador de la Brigada Raúl Gómez García, del Contingente Cultural Juan Marinello, de la Comisión para el Desarrollo de la Escultura Monumental y Ambiental (CODEMA), y de la Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC), en las cuales ha desempeñado cargos de dirección. Miembro del Comité Provincial del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Cultura (SNTC).
Artista en activo. Ha obtenido 33 premios nacionales y provinciales en las diferentes manifestaciones en que realiza su labor creadora, con más de treinta exposiciones colectivas internacionales, que incluyen la Bienal de São Paulo, Brasil, 1967; y Cracovia, Polonia en 1972. Ha realizado 11 exposiciones personales y ha participado en más de cien colectivas en el país.
Sobre su obra han sido publicadas en la prensa nacional y extranjera varias reproducciones, monografías, y trabajos críticos, entre ellos se destacan los aparecidos en la revista Bohemia, el semanario Mella, el periódico Granma, Caimán Barbudo, y el boletín Galería, todos de Cuba; además de Revista Literaria Internacional, URSS; la revista RDA; y Gráfica Contemporánea, RDA.
Ha realizado viajes de intercambio cultural a diferentes países europeos.
Su obra forma parte de colecciones privadas y públicas en Cuba y en el extranjero; la más completa de ellas se encuentra en el Museo Emilio Bacardí.
Por su trayectoria artística y docente le han sido otorgados diferentes reconocimientos y condecoraciones, entre ellas: Profesor de Mérito, la Distinción Por La Cultural Nacional, Artista Laureado.
Exhibiciones Personales
* 1961 Galería Oriente, Santiago de Cuba
* 1961 Centro Cultural, Camagüey, Cuba
* 1965 Galería Oriente, Santiago de Cuba
* 1966 Galería Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba
* 1966 Galería Habana, La Habana, Cuba
* 1966 Galería Balcón de Velázquez, La Habana, Cuba
* 1980 Galería UNEAC, Santiago de Cuba
* 1980 Centro Cultural, Palma Soriano
* 1980 Galería Centro de Arte, Budapest, Hungría
Exhibiciones Internacionales
* 1962 Bienal de São Paulo, Brasil
* 1975 Exhibición en Kingston, Jamaica
* 1976 Santiago en Leningrad, URSS
* 1976 Arte Moderno Cubano, Oslo, Noruega
* 1976 Arte Moderno Cubano, Helsinki, Finlandia
* 1976 Arte Moderno Cubano, Suiza
* 1978 Comité Clasificador del XI Festival, Nueva York, Estados Unidos
* 1979 Galería Internacional Joan Miró, España
* 1980 Arte Gráfico Cubano, Managua, Nicaragua
* 1981 Exhibición Gráfica Santiaguera, Ciudad México, México
* 1982 Gráfica Cubana, España
* 1982 Gráfica Cubana, París, Francia
* 1982 Graphics Sampler, St. George’s, Granada
* 1983 Gráfica Cubana, Ciudad México, México
* 2003-2004 Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.
* 2003-2004 Lighthouse Center for the Arts, Tequesta, Florida

“Callejon de Carniceria” 21×16 Woodblock on Paper
See more of José Julián Aguilera Vicente’s art.

Peter Pettegrew Show At Stellers Gallery In Neptune Beach, Florida

Gallery exhibit – The Stellers Gallery in Neptune Beach will be exhibiting the impressionist-style work of Peter Pettegrew though Friday, July 11. He’s a naturalist whose paintings capture the subtle luminous lighting, delicate tones and colors from his hikes and rural camps. Pettegrew, from Central Florida, is also captivated by the “feel and presence” of Southern wetlands, from the Everglades to South Carolina. Stellers Gallery Annex, at Beaches Town Center at 200 First Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. 247-7200.


New Work From Peter Pettegrew: Dawn On The Island

Central Florida landscape maestro Peter Pettegrew has perfected “Dawn On The Island,” a robust 30×40 oil painting on stretched canvas. Exploiting the subtle shades of green and gold ever-present in the wild Florida landscape is something Peter does in nearly every painting, but this piece explores these tonalities with a delicate mastery without exaggerating for effect.

Joherms Quiala Brooks, Cuban Artist


You can see Senior Quiala’s work here.

Joherms Quiala Brooks is a formally trained painter who brings his own Cuban twist to a Dali-esque form of surrealism. His paintings frequently contain beautifully rendered mysteries which the viewer must try to unravel in order to decipher the true meaning of the piece. His seductive and intriguing works present commentaries on the modern Cuban cultural experience.
Quiala was born between the sea and the mountains in Guantánamo, Cuba, where he attended the School of Fine Arts. From there, he was accepted at Havana’s National Art School where he was able to broaden his education by attending art expositions and theater and reading current literature about art. This opened his eyes to many of the different cultures in his own country.
From Havana, Quiala went on to study in Santiago de Cuba where he came into the realm of Carlos René Aguilera and his father, Aguilera Vincente and, in 1989, Quiala was appointed as a professor of engraving and drawing at the José Joaquín Tecada Art Academy. Here he found more freedom to break the molds of traditional artistic expression.
Quiala embodies the philosophy of José Martí, Cuba’s independence leader, who observed that everyone is a product of the period in which he lives. He feels that it is his responsibility to speak of the events which have marked Cuban life in recent years. Quiala portrays the use of the U.S. dollar in Cuban society and the prevalence of the sex trade and its relationship to the dollar. In Juego rentado (Rented Games), he shows us two nubile young women floating on a magical dollar bill carpet above the lecherous men beneath them. He continues this theme by portraying the effect of the dollar on the people in rural areas. Mi tio el que llegó del norte (My Uncle Who Arrived from the North) shows a detailed, hyper-realistic green-skinned man leaning on a dollar-wrapped pole against a background replication of a sere rural town.
We see other recurring themes in Quiala’s work; the broken glass; the unmistakable red color and shape of cans of Coca-Cola; the pressure cooker and the unctuously draped cloak. His meticulously rendered landscapes are festooned with drops of blood, ropes dangling from the sky or slashes in the canvas. They provoke us to question what may be lurking under all that natural beauty. In one of his landscapes he portrays Christ secured to the cross with sickles rather than nails, and in another a crown of thorns spraying blood defiles the beauty of the Cuban countryside.
Quiala is able to combine his visual message with his cultural experience. His images are subjective with a heavy semantic force and reveal the influence of Salvador Dali. His unexpected juxtapositions of tranquil landscapes and bleeding religious symbols emphasize his concern for the state of his country. However, despite all his symbolism, we frequently see Quiala using the Cuban gift of bringing humor into even the worst situations, making a joke about the problems of life, about the dreams deferred.

Joherms Quiala Brooks – Biografía
Critica De Arte
Revista Mensual Independiente – Nueva Epoca
Madrid – Noviembre 1997

La admiración por Dalí, su obra y su vida, hace que Joherms Quiala joven pintor Guantanamero (Cuba) exprese su pensamiento fuera de cualquier fuerza que le imponga la razón. Su carácter abierto y la energía que le definen conducen su pintura hacia un surrealismo pleno de color. El sol, la luz y el color que impregnan a Cuba se traducen en los lienzos de Joherms, que lanza a base de azules, amarillos, verdes…, lejos de una preocupación estética y como vía de su proceso espiritual.
Joherms Quiala, con sus 27 años, ha realizado numerosas exposiciones individuales y colectivas dentro y fuera de su país, por ejemplo ha participado en el XV Festival del Humor en Tolentino (Italia), o en la exposición “Matices” organizada por el Ayuntamiento de Albacete. Asimismo, ha obtenido premios como el primero en el Festival Internacional de Humor en Belgica.
Al ver sus obras se observa cierta nota de humor, incluso el propio pintor se retrata caracterizado de cualquier personaje importante. Por ejemplo, en un sueño en azul aparece Joherms dentro de un cuadro ataviado como el Greco, con una lata de cola en la mano y un gesto de cierta burla. Do pájaros custodian el lienzo mientras que en primer plano aparece la figura del Dalí con cara de admiracion, a su lado se levanta ese sueño como un paño vaporoso para mostrar la infinitud del mundo en amraillo, fuerza impulsora y motora de su existencia. Domina el dibujo y traza perfectamente la perspectiva, mientras se sirve de distintos elementos para dirigir la mirada del espectador por la totalidad del cuadro.
Joherms Quiala trasciende más allá de si mismo, por eso la nota de humor caracteriza sus obras junto a elementos referentes a su tierra. Realiza la fusión entre dos mundos, como un puente que cruzamos con una ilusión que no cesa.
Paloma Vargas
“Su Realismo”
De Joherms Quiala aseguran muchas personas que es un pintor Surrealista, pero hay tanto surrealismo en esta sentencia que me promueve a mirar sus pinturas. Como “Su Realismo” es decir: la manera que el tiene de construir otra realidad apoyado en referentes fotográficos, láminas de revistas, en fin, utalizando cuantas imágenes el necesite para su intensión. Estos trabajos no se acercan al Realismo Mágico y quedan separados de Realismo, quizás lo que haya promovido a pensar en que ellos sean surrealista es como inserta en las pinturas precisiones concretas en un conjunto irreal, sus mujeres como otros elementos, aparecen en posturas clásicas pero en una ingravidez que no propone una ubicación a un tiempo. Fuerza los elementos clásicos modernos etc, a una atmósfera, a una concentración de efectos de la que sale una visión arquitectónica a lo cual he llamado “Su Realismo”; esta libertad de construir paisajes donde confluyen diferentes eventos en distintos tiempos y donde queda anulado el poder dinámico de cada forma, con su estilo, contenido etc, para proponerle argumentos aun más vigentes.
En sus paisajes pretende concordar el pasado con el presente y a pesar de la alteridad que producen estos juegos asociativos, las apropiaciones son manipuladas como para hacernos creer que visitan su futuro. Pienso que su riquesa se haya en que estos paisajes evocan otro reconocimiento de las imágenes, donde se encuentran otras respuestas, además para otras cosas en otros trabajos.
Quiala, considera que en sus últimas propuestas persiste en encontrarle un tiempo más concreto a sus apropiaciones, y esto lo aleja mucho más de toda intensión surrealista, ahora parece que busca competir con una cámara fotográfica y esta preocupación excesiva por las imágenes representadas, me despierta o me hace ver cierta actitud manierista, una sensibilidad que logra encontrar una forma en sus paisajes.

Antonio Ferrer Cabello


See Cuban artist Ferrer’s work *here*!

Antonio Ferrer Cabello was a patriarch of Santiago de Cuba’s art community. During his long life, Ferrer played a revolutionary and transforming role in the development of the Oriente’s artistic community. His paintings reflect recurrent themes in the art of eastern Cuba: the portrayal of urban landscapes, the exploration of the area’s brilliant light and portraits of the colorful characters who make up the diverse social fabric of Santiago de Cuba.
Every day he climbed the steps to his third floor studio on the corner of San Pedro and Hereida Streets. There, he overlooked the heart of Santiago and painted his city and its people. He was a pupil of famous Cuban painters and a teacher to generations. Through his hands passed clay and oil, brushes and palette knives, portraits and landscapes, and, during his 90 years he left an indelible record of the soul of Santiago de Cuba. He recalled these incidents from his youth which illustrate the struggle of artists and artistic freedom in pre and post revolutionary Cuba.
“My father, Esteban Ferrer, studied painting in Santiago de Cuba at an academy run by the provincial government. He went to war in 1895 and went to work when he came home. When Emilio Bacardí, the first 20th century mayor of Santiago de Cuba, founded the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts, my father joined the teaching staff. He was a student and friend of Tejada, and also of José Uranio Carbó, both of whom were painters. He didn’t miss a concert or an exhibit. I was his oldest son and, when I was still a little boy, he began taking me to all those events, but at that time it was impossible for him to make a living as a painter. The salary he received from the city government was laughable, and he had to maintain a constantly growing family. So he had to decorate churches, do restorations of old paintings and paint houses, anything he could. I would watch him as he painted. He would have me stand right next to him, so I could see how he did things, and when I watched him, I wanted to be a painter, too. But he always told me I shouldn’t study painting, that it should just be a hobby, not a profession. He told me to study law, business or medicine and that he would try to help me in that, but that I should never be a professional artist!
He would say, ‘Just look at Ramírez Guerra,’ who was a dentist. ‘When he doesn’t have any patients, he paints.’ Bofill was the director of the Bacardí Museum, but he couldn’t live on that salary alone. Everybody wanted him to give away his paintings, without considering the expenditures of materials and effort involved. Tejada, on the other hand, owned the Ponupo magnesium mines; he had money to support himself with, so he didn’t have any problems.
I started painting, if memory serves me, around 1929 or 1930. I did my little things. My father told me that he was going to send me to Havana so I could study art, but that was just to keep my illusions alive. He kept putting it off. He didn’t have any interest in my becoming an artist.
When I decided to concentrate on painting, he said, ‘Son, there’s no art market here. People here don’t buy any art at all, so think of other work. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t paint in your spare time, but . . .’
So due to his father’s advice, which had an undeniable measure of truth, time passed and Antonio Ferrer Cabello’s yearning to be a painter remained unfulfilled. Finally, the young man took matters into his own hands and decided to seek a scholarship.
The young people with artistic ambitions demanded the six government scholarships for Havana’s San Alejandro Academy granted to the Oriente. The politicians were keeping those scholarships for the sons of their sergeants, but the young artists carried out a campaign for them to get them. The war veterans supported them, and some of the scholarships were given to them, even though they amounted to only half of what they were supposed to get.
Ferrer continues his story; “Certain documents were demanded of the applicants. I asked my father to do the paperwork at the mayor’s office to issue the certificates of morality, deportment and financial need. My father said, ‘Yes, yes, I’ll do the paperwork,’ but the days passed and nothing happened. My father was busy and he put it off, so I did the paperwork myself.”
Without hesitation, Ferrer marched over to the mayor’s house. The conversation that ensued between the artist and the official is worth recounting:
“Good morning, Mr. Mayor. I came to see you because I need a certificate of financial need, for a scholarship to the San Alejandro Academy.”
The mayor eyed him slowly and carefully, recognizing him and responding with a question, “Don’t you live at 72 Santa Lucía?”
“Yes, I do.”
“And you’re the son of Ferrer, the painter, right?”
“That’s me.”
“Then… you aren’t financially needy!”
“Oh, yes I am.”
The mayor’s tone hardened. “Isn’t your father a homeowner? Doesn’t he own his own house?”
“Yes, Sir, my father is a homeowner, it’s his house. Everything is his! I don’t own a thing. I’m financially needy.”
The mayor glared at him from head to foot, broke out in a smile and handed him the signed certificate.
In 1937 Ferrer entered the San Alejandro Academy. He quickly became a student leader and studied under some of Cuba’s most revered artists: sculptors Florencio Gelabert, José Sicre and Teodoro Ramos Blanco; painters Armando Menocal, Esteban Velderrama and Leopoldo Romanach to name a few. After graduating, Ferrer returned to Santiago de Cuba and served as a professor at the José Joaquin Tejada Academy. He was instrumental in establishing the first art gallery in Santiago and was a leader and source of inspiration in the artistic and cultural community.
His lyrical paintings of Santiago de Cuba capture the city’s soul like no one else. He rejoices in improbable but real spaces, in the reddish tone of the locally made roof tiles, in the hundred year old balconies and in the cobblestones worn down by the incessant comings and goings of its inhabitants. He has captured the city’s luminosity and strong sunshine.
The light in this eastern Cuban city has always presented a challenge to its artists. Ferrer has worked diligently to find a technique that dealt with the problem and glare of the sun light. His technique involved keeping a clean palette of translucent colors to represent the harsh, unrelenting light of his city. He felt that artists cannot paint shadows in Santiago, purple or dark, because the shadows are bright, as bright as the light. Painting them otherwise would portray dirty shadows and would not show all the light that they really have.
In addition to his cityscapes, Ferrer has given us an insight into the joys and passions of his Caribbean nation. He paints the Carnival and all of its giddy emotions. He even referred to Santiago itself as a carnival because of the diversity of the light which continually changes and gives energy to the city. Ferrer conveyed some of that energy with his use of the palette knife to which gives the sensuous feeling of touch. He draws us inside the rhythms of the rumba with his portrayals of carnival dancers and congas. It is in these paintings that Ferrer shows the wealth of color and excitement at Carnival time. In his painting La rumba III Ferrer used the bold verticals of the two brightly colored drums to evoke the movement of a dancer’s hips and the intensity of emotions on the drummer’s face reveal the power of the music. The work draws the viewer into the Carnival mêlée.
Cuban poet and independence leader, José Marti who is buried in Santiago de Cuba, summed up the power of Ferrer when he said, “Who does not feel in himself the growing of a strange force when in the presence of a beautiful painting.”

Visión de Antonio Ferrer Cabello
por Miguel Angel Botalín
Ferrer pinta retratos, paisajes, dibuja, hace acuarelas, pasteles, grabados, incursiona en técnicas y explora temas variados, aunque su obra sobresaliente estará desde entonces en el retrato, seguido de cerca del paisaje urbano.
Al artista caracteriza el dibujo preciso, fuerte, esto unido a la riqueza cromática de su paleta y el dominio técnico, le servirán para realizar retratos donde capta la sicología de sus personajes en una pintura de gran acabado.
Cuando observamos entre sus obras el “Facundo” o el “Lincoln” y vemos cómo maneja el claroscuro, descubrimos que cada pincelada es clave, que cada una está situada en el lugar preciso sin descuidar la fisonomía del retrato, alcanzando la blandura de la carne con una luminosidad tropical. Luego vendrán el “Paez” y el “Sabas” y otros muchos de igual calidad donde la sicología de cada modelo no se escapa a la sensibilidad del creador a su pupila que ve de antemano lo exacto que pide la tela. “Paez” y “Sabas” son dos obras que vimos crecer día a día de forma fluida y nos hizo pensar que cada pincelada se colocaba para que nosotros comprobáramos lo que el pintor había visto mucho antes.
Domina todo lo necesario en técnicas y cuenta con talento pero sin dudas la etapa de su formación y el aislamiento que lo rodea en Santiago no le exige cambios en la concepción de su pintura. A la propia capital llegan con gran retraso las corrientes más actuales y no son muchos los que viajan, estudian y regresan para influir en unos pocos seguidores. Ferrer trae a su ciudad esa vanguardia y no sólo promueve la comunicación con artistas de la capital sino con otros fuera de Cuba. Influirá para que las corrientes más actuales se cultiven en el teatro, la música o apoyando toda experimentación en la revista “Galería”, órgano oficial de la institución, recoge mucho de la labor de promoción donde estuvo su activa presencia.
Volvamos a otro aspecto de su obra pictórica, la de las décadas del sesenta, donde continúan los retratos de los músicos con soluciones diferentes a la etapa anterior. El conjunto logra romper con algunas formas establecidas en Ferrer. Hay más soltura y libertad en los fondos y ambientes, se hace más presente la luz. Hay menos rigidez en las poses. Existen opiniones de que Ferrer es más paisajista que retratista, sustentado por el hecho de que su paisaje citadino cobra un nivel competitivo muy fuerte. El conjunto del “Tivolí” es de una gran belleza. Nos devuelve en telas la luz y el color como nunca antes lo habiamos disfrutado.
Es el sol de Santiago en las fachadas de las casas, con sus colores vivos y una modernidad en el tratamiento que impresiona. Es como dijo Soler: “La luz de la Sombra” y la solución sin rebuscamientos. Está allí el sol que quema y una sombra llena de luz que nada tiene de umbrosa.
Hay vida, aún sin peatones, porque somos nosotros los que recibimos el sol, entornamos los ojos y cruzamos a la otra acera en busca de la sombra acogedora.
Evocar la obra de un artista es una labor grata. Estamos seguro que la obra y la vida de Ferrer es suma de experiencia y deuda que más de una generación le agredece.

Caleb Working On Commission For Tampa Client

Here it is– actual photographic evidence that Caleb really paints while hanging out in the late afternoon at Interior Motives Gallery in St Petersburg, Fl. each week day. Caleb claims to be there working from “oh, uh, like 3:30 or so till, uhm, whenever…” Monday through Friday. We didn’t take this picture, IMG proprietor Leslie Curran‘s assistant Kathleen reportedy did, so we have no way of knowing whether or not it is a clever Photoshop assemblage which places him at the easel, brush in hand. Read Caleb’s lies, half-truths and calumnies at his blog, Calebism.


The Cuban Art Revolution Video From Frontline

This very watchable seven-minute video tells the moving story of Cuban artists overcoming tremendous difficulties to produce wonderful visual arts of all varieties (many of which are frankly critical of the current regime), and how the pioneering collectors are realizing profits while promoting the art and artists of Cuba. Be sure to see it, and consider the possibilities of Cuban art for collectors in advance of the almost certain liberalization of trade coming after the change of U.S. administrations in 2009.
Seven North’s marketing partnership with CubanArt/ArteDeCuba, the oldest and highest-profile importer of Cuban art, makes our Art of Cuba galleries to your right a great place to start looking at work from the burgeoning art scene of Cuba Oriente.

Cuban Artist Alfredo Rodriguez Now Represented By SN in St Petersburg, Florida

See more of Rodriguez’s art here.


Alfredo Rodriguez, a self-trained Cuban artist recognized for his landscapes and luminous vistas, grew up on a farm in Reparto Siboney on the outskirts of Bayamo, Cuba. As a child he was immersed in a rural environment, playing amidst the coconut palms and mango trees and fishing in the nearby river. He attributes his love of landscapes to these early experiences.
As Rodriguez grew older, he was able to spend some time at an art school in Bayamo, but he spent more time at the library where he fell in love with the atmosphere, light and color of the Dutch landscape painters. He studied works from the Barbizon School and from Cuban landscape artists. He particularly admired the romantic style of Esteban Chartrand and the realism of Valentín Sanz Carta. Rodriguez feels that his use of color and emotion falls somewhere between that of these two artists.
Rodriguez’s draws his color style from the Barbizon School. He says, “I am in love with ochre, sienna and brown. The colors of oil paints, as they come out of the tube, do not exist in nature, not with such total purity. They need to be grayed up. I’m very strong on certain colors and a certain kind of light. I don’t paint many landscapes at noon, but rather at mid-morning. I also like to paint in late afternoon because there’s an element of magic at that time. When the sun starts going down, the clouds are still red but begin to take on a little ochre. At that moment, there is such a wide range of shades, so rich and picturesque that it’s incredible. The trees change from the bright green of mid-day and there is an array of nuances more suited to my spirit. I am a quiet man; I like tranquility, solitude, meditation. I like to sit in a corner with a book, reading and painting. I like to hide from the world. You have to dig deep in order to paint and bear witness to that powerful force that every human being carries inside, and that can only be done in solitude.”
Rodriguez’s luminous works are inspired by the sunsets. Through the positioning and layering of colors and pigments, his skies give back the drama of the sun’s rays illuminating the clouds, the imposing trees, the roofline of a bohío, or the backs of homeward bound sheep. His skies recall for us the mystery and magic of every unforgettable sunset. His luminous paintings take the viewer into that moment of calm, immense beauty that occurs just before the world falls dark.
Rodriguez’s landscapes are inspired directly from nature and from his love of the land. He tells us that he often goes into the countryside to make sketches of trees and the simple huts called bohíos. He says, “There’s no canon for painting bohíos. If you paint a bohío in a professional manner, some will say it’s not realistic, but if you go to the countryside, you will find bohíos of all kinds: some made of palm thatching, or of palm tree planks, or adobe, or of raw clay, and even of woven grasses. There is a huge variety.”
He seeks out the oldest trees for his paintings, the ones that seem to talk and are covered with moss. He feels that these ancient ones represent the resilience of nature, its ability to withstand everything. These old trees represent part of Rodriguez’s philosophy of life and his strong connection to the land. They impart a sense of stability and tranquility to his works.
Rodriguez frequently includes both people and animals in his works. He says, “I like the campesino, with a hoe in his hand. I try to include a human figure in the landscape because I enjoy places that have the human touch. It removes the bleakness found in unsettled and uncivilized areas and gives the viewers of my paintings a point of identity. Animals do the same thing because, without them, the landscape would not be complete.” So, there is always some token of humanity to be found in Rodriguez’s landscapes, an oxcart, a bridge, a bit of broken wall to remind us that man has an irrevocable tie to the land which, for Rodriguez, manifests itself in a deep passion meticulously transferred to canvas.

Alfredo Cecilio Rodríguez Cedeño – Biografía
De formación autodidáctica, hizo algunos cursos como aficionado en la Casa de Cultura de su ciudad natal y recibió enseñanzas de los profesores de la escuela de artes plásticas Manuel del Socorro Rodríguez de Bayamo.
Aunque trabaja casi todas las temáticas, su línea principal y que más se ha distinguido es el paisaje; paisaje campesino de marcado acento naturalista donde el artista enfatiza en los tipos y costumbres del campesinado cubano, logrando así conjugar tradición y realidad. También ha incursionado en el tema ecológico y medioambiental, además de participar en las jornadas cucalambeanas de Las Tunas.
Junto a su hermano, también artista plástico, conforman un importante nucleo pictórico paisajista de la provincia Granma, participando de manera asídua en los salones y eventos municipales y provinciales.
Ha obtenido premios y menciones municipales, provinciales y nacionales.
Este joven artista, con sólo 30 años de edad y 15 dedicados a la plástica, cuenta con cuatro expos personales y cerca de veinte colectivas. En el 1999 integró una expo colectiva titulada “El fenome cubano” en la galería de arte de Asheville, Carolina del Norte, en los Estados Unidos.
Domina la pintura, el dibujo, grabado, cerámica y las artes aplicadas.
Actualmente vive y trabaja como artista independiente en Bayamo.

Peter Pettegrew Gatorland Restoration Continues In Florida Attraction

Click here to watch Peter Pettegrew at Gatorland
Peter Pettegrew’s art consulting expertise is tested at the famous “Old Floridatourist attraction Gatorland. Be sure to watch the video to see Peter talking about the project.

Working alone in swamps isn’t unusual for Peter Pettegrew. But Gatorland, his current south Orange County location, is hardly the typical studio for the renowned landscape artist.

Traffic from Orange Blossom Trail whizzes behind him. Noisy construction crews hammer around him, rebuilding the entrance to one of Central Florida’s oldest attractions.

“It’s been an interesting project. Every morning we walk through [Gatorland] and look at all the nesting birds,” said Pettegrew, who makes landscapes on canvas — not huge walls — his life’s work. One of his paintings has fetched as much as $35,000 at auction, and his work is in museums, corporate offices and the private collections of former Vice President Dan Quayle and actor John Travolta.

Pettegrew, 44, and fellow artists Rita Canan and Alison Horne, owners of Orlando firm Muralistically Inclined, are finishing a weeks-long project that includes four 21-foot-tall murals on the outside of Gatorland’s new retail building.

–From the Orlando Sentinel

Read the whole story *here*.