Apropos of Nelson Dominguez’s personal exhibition at the Museum of Sacred Art, the Minor Basilica and St. Francis of Assisi Convent
Since he burst onto the art scene of the 1970s, Nelson Dominguez has maintained a career in which painting, drawing, working with ceramics, sculpture, engraving, etc, coexist without conflict. His unusual courage for experimentation with various techniques and procedures in works on legends of great spiritual density based on apparently minimum expressive resources, have earned him a leading place within the Cuban visual arts. That’s why the Minor Basilica and the Convent of St. Francis of Assisi is honored to have him to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its opening as a sacred art museum and concert hall.
Since last October 4 and until November 21, about 28 pieces of medium and large format make up the arsenal that invades the large space of the gallery located on the second floor of the north cloister. Nelson’s proposal, although morphologically versatile, owns a very unique imprint which is expressed through the emotion revealed when contemplating that shocking universe where the expression of the beauty remains a very personal and spontaneous breath.
Revelaciones (Revelations), is the title of the sample, brings together only a part of the artist’s work in recent years, especially in this 2014. This is a collection of paintings and other group of smaller sculptures that take us into a world of creative spell with the gestures of aesthetic imagination reluctant to the detailed description of the environment. While it is a work not alien to social concerns and frustrations, the motive seems just a pretext to mobilize the eagerness of formal searches. So, the nudity of the material and categorical appeal to the synthesis which renounces sometimes to triviality of the anecdote, coexist with the passion of the vigorous lines, the mystery of textures and the sharp magic of the color as elements of leading role.
Although some recent and not so recent and famous works are included, the intention was not to raise a retrospective. Revelations is above all an invitation to wander between pieces of great strength and metaphorical potential in themselves, pieces passing at will by expressionism but that coincide in placing men, their disappointments, hopes and faith in the middle of their concerns. Even in those paintings that belong to the series Esta vida perra, where the protagonist is the figure of the dog, another one recreating a hummingbird flying and even in the compositions corresponding to the series Palos y Crucifixiones we appreciate an insertion of poetic allegories where mythology, in communion with syncretism, refer to the miseries of the human being, into an art which juxtaposes memory, experience and imagination.
Contrary to what the titles evoke and to what Nelson’s generous, even-tempered and optimistic personality always inspires, we are witnessing an amalgam of references issuing helplessness, nostalgia, despair … it seems as if the artist had the permanent intention of exorcising his demons in the act of creation. What is most remarkable is that for a moment we get caught up in a rare affliction that shakes us, moves us, makes us remember, reason … build a bridge between what we see and what we know, what we think … that strange sensation that only the great works of art provoke.