In the world of art, where the boundaries of perception and reality often blur, Rafael Soriano’s work stands as a testament to the power of transformation and the convergence of the intimate and the cosmic. The latest exhibition of Soriano’s work, focusing on his mature period of the 1990s, invites viewers to delve into a realm where personal introspection and universal themes intersect, offering a profound visual experience. This exhibition, titled “In Focus,” is being held at Hollis Taggart from May 16 to June 21.

Rafael Soriano (1920-2015) is celebrated as one of the foremost Latin American artists of his generation. His journey through the art world began in Cuba, where he emerged as a pivotal figure in introducing Concrete Art—a style characterized by its geometric abstraction, free from symbolism or representation. This movement sought to strip art down to its most fundamental elements, emphasizing form and color over narrative content.

Soriano’s early works, steeped in the principles of Concrete Art, reflected a rigorous adherence to geometric precision and a rejection of traditional representation. This period in his career positioned him as a leading voice in Cuban modernism, contributing significantly to the artistic dialogue of the time. However, the seismic shifts brought about by the Cuban Revolution in 1959 drastically altered the course of his life and work.

In 1962, in the wake of the revolution, Soriano made the difficult decision to flee Cuba for Miami. This period of exile was marked by profound despair, and for two years, he abandoned painting entirely. The political upheaval and displacement left a void in his creative expression, a silence that spoke volumes about the artist’s inner turmoil.

It was a spiritual revelation, experienced in a dream, that reignited Soriano’s artistic flame. This dream, a pivotal moment in his life, catalyzed a profound transformation in his style and thematic focus. Departing from the rigid confines of geometric abstraction, Soriano’s work began to evolve into something more fluid, more ethereal. He embraced a style that can be described as oneiric, characterized by luminous gradations of light and shadow, creating compositions that seemed to transcend the boundaries of the tangible world.

The works from Soriano’s mature period in the 1990s, showcased in this exhibition, are a testament to this evolution. These pieces are imbued with a sense of the cosmic and the intimate, capturing the artist’s deep engagement with themes of spirituality, memory, and identity. The luminous quality of his paintings invites viewers into a meditative space, where the play of light and shadow evokes a sense of the infinite.

Soriano’s paintings from this period often feature dreamlike landscapes and abstract forms that seem to float in a state of perpetual flux. The soft gradations of color and the delicate interplay of light and dark create a sense of depth and mystery, drawing viewers into a contemplative experience. These works are not just visual spectacles; they are portals into the artist’s inner world, reflecting his journey from despair to spiritual awakening.

The exhibition highlights the duality in Soriano’s work—the convergence of the intimate and the cosmic. His paintings are deeply personal, yet they resonate with universal themes, bridging the gap between the individual and the collective human experience. This duality is a hallmark of Soriano’s mature style, where the personal and the universal coexist in harmonious tension.

Soriano’s use of light and shadow serves as a metaphor for his own journey through exile and redemption. The luminous quality of his paintings can be seen as a reflection of his spiritual rebirth, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. The shadows, on the other hand, hint at the lingering memories of loss and displacement, creating a poignant contrast that adds depth to his work.

In exploring the intimate and the cosmic, Soriano’s art invites viewers to reflect on their own experiences and the broader human condition. His paintings serve as a reminder that, despite the turmoil and challenges we face, there is always the potential for transformation and renewal. Soriano’s work is a celebration of the enduring power of art to transcend boundaries and connect us to something greater than ourselves.

This exhibition of Rafael Soriano’s mature works offers a unique opportunity to experience the profound beauty and spiritual depth of his art. It is a journey into a realm where the intimate and the cosmic converge, a testament to the transformative power of creativity and the enduring legacy of one of Latin America’s most significant artists.

Discover Cosmic Brilliance: 5 Highlights of Rafael Soriano
Discover Cosmic Brilliance: 5 Highlights of Rafael Soriano

Link to the original article