José Villa is the Cuban sculptor of highest international relevance, with his works shown in several national and international spaces. Born in Santiago de Cuba (1950), graduated and post graduate from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, he decided to distance himself from the training that obeyed the proposals of realism to dare with abstractionism that proposed volume and other shapes distant from his learning.
Besides exhibiting his vast work in museums and galleries,
Villa has devoted part of his efforts to place his art in public spaces. He usually works with lasting material, namely stone, bronze, in different formats: medium, large scale and the most recent proposal of sculptural jewelry.
The artist has participated in dozens of sculpture international symposia and his works are placed in different cities worldwide.
Clear evidence of his call for the public projection of his work are his pieces of popular connotation: John Lennon, peacefully sitting on a park bench in Vedado neighborhood; the Caballero de Paris, walking Old Havana; Ernest Hemingway, eager to enjoy a daiquiri in the Floridita bar; Mother Teresa of Calcutta, writing and in peaceful absorption in a convent; all these pieces are examples of his creativity, giving human realism to the characters, capturing their features.
We discover in the artist the dichotomy of he, who, together with medium size and monumental work, develops transcendent abstract pieces, volumes of splendid formal perfection and sophisticated imagery. Expressions of his modernity and good taste are found in Mutania, created in the year 2010 in the Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba, a piece where the author underlines his unalterable devotion to abstractionism, revealing his concern for visual structures by creating geometric figures used as a distinctive sign of his abstract work. In this process, the concept of the spiral enables him to journey through a dynamic that aims to go beyond the static spirit.
The spiral is a symbol of growth and evolution: it represents the process s of returning once and again to the same point, but always at a different and superior level, so that every step is conceived in a new light. With this notion of the shape, we can conclude that this new proposal is a metaphor of his excellent artistic career. We are facing the creative spiral of his work that leads him from gallery sculpture to monumental and environmental sculpture, to return to the small format with metalsmith work that does not renounce its sculptural nature, animated by the concept of geometric abstracion and full of a captivating beauty.
In his most recent production, Villa surprises with jewelry (10 editions each) designed by the artist and invariably marked by the imprint of his personal style. Refinement, balance and some mystery are the result of this minimalist exercise that evokes known productions, but does not repeat them, as Villa has decided to make original creations that extend his splendid imaginary.
In this new dimension, Villa offers an exemplary lecture on the expressive dimension of “the small”. He works volumes similar to those characterizing his sculptures; but the spectator can now wear and enjoy these shapes. That is what the show is about: the splendid pieces by Villa, forged with exultant delicacy that presents an exquisite mastery of the material— gold, silver, bronze—and now echoed in the sculptural jewelry which beyond the exhibition will become the property of demanding, fortunate and pleased customers.
This is the same artist who took down from pedestals the eminent figures of the commemorative arts, to transform the concept of monument; the same artist that has provided Cuban geography and other sites of the planet with environmental works. The José Villa of always, demonstrating his mastery in the most intimate of scales with sculptural jewelry, as a tiny version of beauty, the marvelous spiral of his creation.
Silver and bronze
24¾ x 26¼ x 10¾ inches Copper
19 x 22½ x 15¼ inches Stainless steel