'Traces of Migrations'
by Humberto Castro
at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries
ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries' third solo exhibition by Humberto Castro, "Traces of Migrations," opens with a reception for the artist from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6th.
Like works in the previous shows, "First 15-Year Retrospective" in 2006 and "Contemporary Fables" in 2008, Castro's new paintings continue to explore visual metaphors or fables based on the concept of historic immigration as the foundation for today's society.
In his Symposium magazine review of "Unbroken Ties: Dialogues in Cuban Art" at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art last year, David De Russo notes that Castro's work "exhibits themes of trauma experienced by many Cuban exiles and often paramount within Cuban exile artworks… Using a combination of organic forms and mythological figures, Castro's work conveys themes related to the massive exodus of Cuban 'balseros.'"
Works in "Traces of Migrations," which include an installation of towering suitcases, evoking memories of a momentous trip or series of travels in someone's life, continue this theme. For many Cubans, the suitcases are poignant reminders of their arrival in this country with only a single piece of luggage.
In "Blessing of the Waters," a woman stands with one leg in a bathtub, suggesting the "wet foot, dry foot" policy adopted in 1995 that allows Cubans who reach land in the U.S. to remain while those intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba.
"Transformers," another four-foot canvas, shows outstretched arms of two muscular figures encased in flimsy hulls of boats, a reference to the risky, makeshift vessels of the balseros. Another four-foot oil, "Walking in the Depths," shows an androgynous figure holding such a hull across its shoulders.
Castro, 43, is a member of the renowned 1980s generation of Cuban artists that includes José Bedia and Ruben Torres Llorca. He has been exhibiting and winning awards since 1978, participating in 126 juried and invitational exhibitions as well as 52 solo shows throughout Europe, South America, the United States and elsewhere. His honors and awards are too numerous to list.
Critics universally agree that the work is unquestionably elegant. "Like a poet, Castro imbues his images with lyrical nuances without diminishing their impact," states Jorge Hilker Santis, Curator of Collections at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art and the curator of its 2000-01 one-person exhibition of Castro's works from Paris.
Castro will attend a reception in his honor from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6th, at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries in downtown Coral Gables at 169 Madeira Ave. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturdays and evenings. For more information on the artist and the exhibition, which will continue through Dec. 2010, call 305-444-4493.