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A blank canvas evokes a sense of nothingness; it is a space of purity where infinite pictorial possibilities coexist simultaneously, just before the artist consciously observes and acts to determine the direction of their creation. That's why my initial response to the barren whiteness of the canvas is to cover it with pigments. Although I am aware that the final result will be a figurative piece, where humans and landscapes coexist in some scene - whether nostalgic or playful - the act of manipulating wet colors on the canvas provides me with the peculiar yet delightful sensation of uncovering hidden emotions after a fleeting abstraction. Everything unfolds unconsciously, as if the painting lies dormant within me. I often express that muses do not come from external sources; they merely slumber within.

Abel Quintero Artist
2008 "The Rapt"

The primary goal of every creator is the enhancement of communication channels between the subconscious realm and their artistic craft. In my work, the vast masses of dense vegetation in the distance, merging with a water-stained sky, or the sinuous interplay of foreground leaves flirting with the characters, serve as my means of evoking the primitive uniqueness that is the heritage of all existence. Unfortunately, this heritage is often disrupted by contemporary society.

I take pleasure in portraying the simple craftsmanship of wicker chairs in close proximity to vines, showcasing how entropy gracefully returns yarey hats and guano ceilings to nature. The beauty of a genuine palm — or, as a poet friend might describe, resembling a shack without pretense — underscores the connection between lantern light and the silver majesty of a summer moon.

If we ever experienced the fullness of oneness, it was in childhood. Artists of great stature comprehended this and dedicated their efforts to reclaiming the lost innocence, a consequence of an educational system that rationalizes everything and, in most cases, diminishes it. Unfortunately, the most significant challenge lies in unlearning and doing so effectively. Much of modern society attempts to attain or rediscover these "states of grace" through means that are not necessarily artistic or other avenues of nurturing their spirituality.

Abel Quintero Paintings

My childhood was defined by the deep blue hues of the newly unfolded night, where stars twinkled alongside the amber glow of house lights in the same panoramic view. The scent of burning coal and the melodic resonance of a lute's strings lingered in the air. Roosters and chickens found refuge in the low branches of a dew-covered cherry tree. My grandparents' house brimmed with joyous people, hosting lively gatherings with "guateques," "décimas," and melodies. It was a place filled with tales of apparitions and soothing lullabies.

In this enchanted world, every character, be it human, animal, or insect, played a pivotal role in my surroundings, all sharing the same state of consciousness. This reality, as tangible as it was illusory, as ordinary as it was mysterious, was further adorned by the profound love that bound my family together. I always believed it to be a secure haven.

Abel Quintero Drawing

The inhabitant of the Cuban countryside is not an isolated entity. It is the result of the convergence of various cultures that have given rise to a distinct, and undoubtedly rich, identity. Nevertheless, this identity remains an integral part of a shared space within any society, no matter how distant or exotic it may appear. In the Cuban rural environment, roughness and sensitivity, wisdom and ingenuity coexist in a harmonious relationship. While they have unique ways of visually portraying their reality, they are particularly renowned for their spontaneous poetry and a profuse mythology that shares numerous points of similarity with other cultures in the Americas. This aspect inspires me to develop concepts based on my personal experiences, recognizing that these points of connection are universal. My commitment is not solely about preserving and promoting the roots and development of an ethnic group or a country; rather, it is an act of authenticity when addressing global concerns from my unique perspective.

Any action that steers me away from seeing life through my own eyes would strip my artistic proposal of authentic meaning. This is why concentrating on the national context is a way for me to establish identification, especially given that my art is currently created from exile. My chosen materials remain oil on canvas or mixed media on paper or cardboard. The incorporation of layers, textures, and glazes, coupled with a meticulous brushstroke, has been a defining characteristic of my work thus far. Consistently, I engage in the distortion of figures and play with naive art.

Acknowledging the inherent communication between my dreams and aspirations with the hand that brings the artwork to life helps me navigate the initial confusion before a blank canvas. Recalling, yearning, and unlearning through my paintings bring me infinite pleasure. As of now, this is the experience that I find most meaningful to share.

 October 2017

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