Cuban artists visit Or­léans

Orleans Star - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Laura Cum­mings

It was with a bit of in­ter­na­tional flair that the Ottawa School of Art, Or­léans Cam­pus opened their first exhibit in the new Shenkman Arts Cen­tre, wel­com­ing a pair of global artists to the re­cently-opened fa­cil­ity.

From Thurs­day, July 9 to Aug. 30, res­i­dents can take in the work of Cuban artist Ra­ciel Suárez González – amongst oth­ers at the school’s sec­ond-floor gallery space – as part of the OSA’s 2009 In­ter­na­tional Juried Print Ex­hi­bi­tion.

Last week’s open­ing also in­cluded a lec­ture and slide pre­sen­ta­tion by González – win­ner of the ex­hi­bi­tion’s best lithog­ra­phy print – which detailed his work and artis­tic de­vel­op­ment. The event is paired with a sec­ond lec­ture and pre­sen­ta­tion on Tues­day, July 14 – led by other vis­it­ing artist Rafael Romero Cor­coba, who was also on hand for Thurs­day’s Shenkman event – about the life and work of in­ter­na­tion­ally-known Cuban artist Cosme Proenza.

González – who hails from east of Hol­guin in the Caribbean coun­try – came to Ottawa as an OSA guest, he ex­plained via trans­la­tor, though he’s pre­vi­ously shown work in coun­tries in­clud­ing Mex­ico, Por­tu­gal and France.

Com­ing to Ottawa, con­tin­ued Gonzáles, was an at­tempt to bet­ter pro­mote his own work, as well as see how Cana­di­ans re­act to his art. “It was a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity,” he added. His pieces cur­rently on dis­play at the OSA’s Or­léans cam­pus – in­clud­ing his prize-winning lithog­ra­phy print – is “about hu­man liv­ing and prob­lems,” González said. “It’s try­ing to find some kind of con­cepts around hu­man life, like love, anger; sen­ti­men­tal is­sues. Try­ing to find the psy­chol­ogy of the char­ac­ters.”

An artist 22 years in the mak­ing, González has spent over two decades work­ing specif­i­cally in lithog­ra­phy, as well as teach­ing both the medium and print-mak­ing back in his na­tive coun­try. Lithog­ra­phy, he ex­plained, is a medium that draws on sculp­ture, paint­ing and draw­ing.

“It’s a way to ex­press all those tech­niques,” González sug­gested. “It brings all the tech­niques to­gether.”

And it’s those tech­niques that González said he sees echoed through the in­di­vid­ual coun­tries he’s vis­ited, cre­at­ing a com­mon thread amongst artists of all dif­fer­ent back­grounds. A strik­ing dif­fer­ence, how­ever, is the sub­ject mat­ter artists choose to deal with, he ex­plained, point­ing to the vari­a­tions be­tween Cuban and Cana­dian work.

One ex­am­ple is a cur­rent artis­tic move­ment in Cuba that re­pur­poses un­used junk from old su­gar fac­to­ries into sculp­tures, con­tin­ued Cor­boba, not­ing that he sees the same thing be­ing done in Canada.

“It’s the same idea in dif­fer­ent coun­tries,” he sug­gested. “It’s the artist’s own re­flec­tion of the re­al­ity of their coun­try.”

It’s that con­cept that makes show­ing in other ar­eas of the world – and con­nect­ing with lo­cal artists – such a unique ex­pe­ri­ence,added González.

“What you find (ar­tis­ti­cally) in each coun­try is char­ac­ter­is­tic of each coun­try,” he said. “It’s say­ing some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, pleas e v isit­tot­

Photo by Eti­enne Ranger

Ra­ciel Suárez González, front, and Rafael Romero


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