Victor Huerta Batista - University of Arizona Museum of Art critical review II

Cuban artist Victor Huerta Batista’s evocative paintings make their U.S. museum debut at UAMA.

By University Communications
July 24, 2007

Contact Information
Gary Nusinow
(520) 621-9507

The University of Arizona Museum of Art presents an exhibition of paintings by the contemporary Cuban artist Victor Huerta Bataista, on exhibit until September 30, 2007.

The exhibition is presented in conjunction with “Goya’s Mastery in Prints: Los Disparates.” and is the second in a series entitled “Correspondence: In Relation to Goya,” which presents the work of contemporary artists in dialogue with Goya’s four major print suites.

In 1949, when Alejo Carpentier penned the phrase “lo real maravilloso,” he articulated a trend in 20th century Cuban arts toward the creation of magical realities: real experience meshed with fantastical imaginings, personal mythology nuanced by political critique, precise rendering amidst strange artificiality and psychologically charged atmospheres.

Born in Camagüey, Victor Huerta Batista is heir to this “marvelous real,” and to Cubanidad, the hybrid Cuban-ness that derives from the island’s long history of cultural fusion. In dialogue with an unusually complex set of art historical precedents, his work also channels the ingenious machine-drawings of Leonardo da Vinci; Christian iconography of the Renaissance; Mannerist emphases on irrational space and private symbolic vocabularies and the idiosyncratic dream-worlds of Surrealism.

The work is representational, often erotically charged, sometimes foreboding and in its many references to modes of transportation, implies a consuming desire for escape. As is true of Goya’s “Los Disparates,” Huerta’s images communicate an elusive vision, at once highly personal and politically evocative.

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