Artist Spotlight focuses on interesting artists, upcoming exhibitions, and articles about art and those who love it or create it.

Discover new ways to stretch your imagination, be introduced to new artists, their exhibits, and books to read about them. Expect to excite your mind. Comments are very welcome! -- Rosemary Carstens

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lam and Luna, two innovative Cuban artists, on view at Long Beach’s fabulous new Museum of Latin American Art --

June 15–August 31, 2008

Born in Cuba in 1902, dying in Paris in 1982, Afro-Chinese Cuban artist WILFREDO LAM is well known throughout Latin America for his innovative work. A master among the mid-20th-century modern artists, he drew from both Picasso’s cubism and Andre Breton’s surrealism, yet gave these styles a unique twist of his own. As it says on the MOLAA website, “His visual language is a synthesis of Cubism, Surrealism, primitivism, . . . Afro-Cuban history and ethnicity, and the religious practice of Santería.” It is as striking today as it was in his lifetime. Sixty-five of his most important paintings, gouaches, and drawings from a traveling exhibition curated by Curtis Carter will be on view.

During the same period, an exhibit featuring the work of CARLOS LUNA is at MOLAA. Another Cuban artist, he is known for his iterations of Manichean duality. He was born in 1961 in Cuba and became a part of the 1980s artistic rebellion. He relocated to Puebla, Mexico, in 1991, and his years there added a Mexican muralism narrative to his Cuban-Havana School heritage.

Luna's exhibition in MOLAA’s Focus Gallery presents a selection of seventeen paintings recently created by the artist. The central masterpiece is Luna’s work titled, El Gran Mambo. Essayist Enrique Garcia Gutierrez states, “his ‘gran mambo,’ his grand theater, could not exist without the tragedy and pain of the political exile, which is the blood that gives life to this masterpiece.”

The work of these two fine Cuban artists should not be missed. It will crack open your mind and introduce you to dynamic new ways of thinking about color, juxtaposition, cultural expression, and the use of rhythm in visual art.

— Rosemary Carstens


Jody Berman said...

Congratulations on your new creative endeavor. May Artist Spotlight bring you--and others--much enjoyment!

Laurel Kallenbach said...

Are you familiar with Surrealist painter Remedios Varo (1908-1963)? She was born in Spain and lived for years in Paris. Like many artists the Nazis labeled as "degenerate," Varo fled Europe during WWII. She settled in Mexico and created fabulous works that reflect her love of art, science and magic.

Laurel Kallenbach

ClaireWalter said...

Perhaps exhibitions such as this will do for Cuban painters what Ry Cooder and "The Buena Vista Social Club" did for Cuban jazz musicians.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful new blog! The two pieces you include of this "Afro-Chinese Cuban" artist were quite different. I can't help but wonder if he has to put on a different ethnic hat when he puts paintbrush to canvas. With his interesting genetic background, I would love to see his photograph! Karen Lin

Rosemary Carstens said...

To answer a couple of questions, yes I am very familiar with the work of Remedios Varo and love her work, along with that of her friend and colleague Leonora Carrington, who is probably now in her nineties and still painting!

The two paintings shown are the work of two different artists--the first is Lam's and the second Luna's. Rosemary

Verna Wilder said...

Just looking at the these 2 small photos makes me want to go to Long Beach to see the show, and I NEVER want to go to southern California. Thank you for this introduction to two artists whose work I did not know.