Cuban artists visit Orléans
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 isit www.artottawa.ca.
Raciel Suárez González, front, and Rafael Romero