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Turning Over New Leaf

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Guido Llinás: Forgotten Master?









Guido Llinás: Forgotten Master?




When one who follows the art world thinks of 20th century Cuban Art, he or she often envisions concrete symbols relating to issues of national identity or references to political events. It is true these images often lie at the heart of visual-expression for Cuban artists. However, abstraction has also played a significant, yet less well- known role in the development of major 20th century Cuban artwork, and none is better at the task than master non-figurative painter, Guido Llinás (1923-2005).

 
Born in Cuba (province Pinar del Rio) in 1923, self-taught painter Guido Llinás left for Paris in 1953, and lived much of his life there. Like the great authors and artists of the Lost Generation years earlier, he sought to develop his craft abroad, while keeping affinity with Abstract Expressionism that he first explored in Havana. His emotional ties to Cuba remained strong throughout his life.

 
In Paris during the 1960s, he excelled at printmaking, featuring crosses, squiggles, and arrows. Inspired by Afro-Cuban and Abakua rituals and signs, the artist focused on designs utilizing what he referred to as the color black, and numerous worldwide galleries have featured his work.

 
Llinás produced work in the abstract style, and many of his post-Cuba works have generic titles such as Black Painting and Red Painting. They contain veiled references to Afro-Cuban rituals, sufficiently blended with abstractions, clearly connecting the artist to Abstract Expressionism.

 
Composition (shown above) is a 1957 painting demonstrating Llinás' wrist approach to action painting, as well as his dramatic use of black and white. This piece launched a twenty-year series of artwork known as Pintura Negra or Black Paintings. Deep black paint and strong rhythms inspired by Afro-Cuban music dominate the series. Composition is tempera on canvas.

11 comments:

  1. A beautiful example of Pintura Negra that I had never seen before. Probably one of the eraly works of this artwork. I am not an expert on painting but I appreciate it very much. Indeed, a forgotten Master. Thank you for revealing it to us.

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  2. FanaticoUm: I agree. I am a fan of Abstract Expressionism, and I do not see much press about Guido Llinás. I think art critics are missing the boat.

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  3. Interesting stuff. Goes well with Paint it Black. Am I the only one who sees a couple of eyes in the painting?

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  4. #167 Dad: I thought so too, but I see two black eyes against the white in the upper left corner. Where are your eyes?

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  5. Happy New Year JJ!! May it be filled with happiness and health for you and your family. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  6. Miriam: Thank you, and same to you and yours!

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  7. JJ,
    Too many Cuban artists from the 20th century are forgotten.

    Guido Llinas was born in the same time frame of Raul Martinez...a difference is that Guido left before Castro's dictatorship. Do we know if Guido is remembered in Cuba? Do we know if he is more considered to be a French artist? I have never heard of Guido...he is another Cuban artist to research.

    As for Abstract Expressionism, that is a level of art I am constantly trying to achieve....At least, compared to art from 2003, my art has become more abstract! LOL

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  8. A-M: I don't know if he is remembered in Cuba, which is a real shame. I absolutely love Abstract Expressionism. Come to think of it, I even like your paintings!!

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  9. this is a wonderful piece! I am not usually drawn to the abstract but there is so much in this. I think it is interesting that #167 Dad asked about eyes. I find that when I first look at an abstract piece my eye tries desperately to find something I recognize. I do see the eyes you mentioned in reply and I see a skull - sort of an animal skull with horns there in the white strokes.
    I know nothing of Cuban art so I am really lucky to have seen this post. Thanks,
    and Happy New Year

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  10. CailinMarie: I see the same eyes. As for Cuban art, I teach Integrated Arts in college, but the curriculum does not cover Cuban art. I figured I would study up on it a little, and I find it most interesting. Happy New Year!

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  11. @ Angeline Marie yes Guido is remembered in Cuba, his brother was a member of Castro s government.....but Castro wuld never support Guido because Guido was known as an anti Castro intellectual.....

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