Now, in response to this new exhibition by Villa, I noticed a sort of introspection that marks an important turning point in the artist’s common methods, which are usually evasive and somewhat hermetic, in impeccable pieces such as Mutantia (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2009) and Immutabilitas (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, 2010). These new sculptures reflected open inquiry and concern through the complementary use of form and space, sensuality and geometry, which evoke the exceptional equilibrium between cavity and mass that marked the visual arts production of the British artist, who was a paradigm of formal renovation in early 20th century sculpture.
(…) From his spatial projections structured on the multiplication of angles that recurrently seek to rise up into strict verticality, the artist now surprises with melodic circles and axes that create zoomorphic, warm, and mystical volumes.
I have always thought that sculptors tend to be artists who are very concentrated on their work, which requires not only their intellect and sensitivity but also major physical effort and certain productive aptitudes. José Villa has sustained, moreover and for many years, not just meritorious work as an educator, but also a complex responsibility in the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). His proven nobleness and generosity, his firm and at the same time restrained courage, which characterize his work as an active doer in Cuba’s cultural management, added to his vocation for public service, has earned him many expressions of recognition and almost unanimous respect—something almost unheard of in these circles—but they almost must have limited his expressive possibilities to a good extent. He admits that it has been “a difficult relationship, an explosive combination,” which at this time is moving toward exclusively creative exercise. As it should be.