The intimate nature of the light

/ 1 March, 2018

“I am not trying to convey any message about reality:
I am moved by the desire to travel through the
paintings, through the dimension of the spirit,
where the intimate and the cosmic coincide”.
Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano López (November 23, 1920, Matanzas, Cuba – April 9, 2015, Miami,USA) graduated from the San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts, Havana, in 1941, and founded, together with Manuel Rodulfo Tardo, José Felipe Núñez, Juan Esnard and Roberto Diago, the Provincial School of Fine Arts in Matanzas city, working there as a professor and principal between 1943 and 1962.

Soriano was a member of the 10 Pintores Concretos (1958– 1961) (ten concrete painters), alongside Carmelo Álvarez, Wilfredo Arcay, Salvador Corratgé, Sandu Darie, Luis Martínez Pedro, José Mijares, Pedro de Oráa, Dolores Soldevilla, Rafael Soriano, Alberto Menocal and José Rosabal, a generation that expressed the identity and the diversity of the national artistic avant-garde, supported by art critic Joaquín Texidor.

Also part of the third modernist generation of artists in the visual arts, he took to the geometric abstraction of 1950s Cuba, known as the Golden Age, and he worked the lyric landscape and the geometry typical of the concrete painters. Likewise, he made incursions into abstractionism with an original thinking: geometric elements, sub realistic luminosity, and a constructivist dynamic, and he was one of the main representatives of concrete art in Cuba and Latin America.

In 1961, in times of extreme contingencies, under the phrase “With the revolution, everything. Against the revolution: nothing” a cultural principle that scorned the art of abstract painters, he felt destroyed as an artist. Disappointed, forced into ostracism, he traveled to Miami in 1962. He worked as a graphic designer. Anguished and in exile with no inspiration, his feeling of having been uprooted and the need to survive hindered his painting for years.

He overcame depression and experienced a spiritual awakening: he started painting and achieved a new creative stage based on his Christianity, a fruitful and fascinating period. Soriano worked as an Arts professor in the Catholic Office of Welfare, and taught Design and Composition in the Cuban Cultural Program, at the University of Miami (1967 – 1970). Soriano’s work thus saw a turning point that changed his life. He created incredible shapes, abstract expressions of emotions, sensations, meditations and mystic elements, with a new treatment of lights and colors, using transparent parts, and specific shapes that placed his works in a new artistic dimension. With his refined technique as a master of luminosity, he introduces the pictorial metaphor, supported by the metaphysical discourse of shapes in astonishing and complex images, where light acts as form and content in the composition.
(…) With more than 50 solo and collective exhibitions, in museums in the United States and Latin America, his visual representation is a transcendental contribution to contemporary visual discourse (…)

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