Born in Havana, Cuba in 1966, I was raised and worked in Texas for 30 years but now live and work in Tallahassee, Florida. My latest works feature large-scale on-site painting installations of dense landscapes that overwhelm the viewer’s perceptual senses. Each individual painting is created over the course of the day in an intense wet-on-wet cumulative manner that underscores the complex nature of trying to capture first-hand the multidimensional and ever-changing experience of being in that specific location. My works are as much about the materiality of the paint and the physicality of the painting process as they are about mixing and mashing the illusionist possibilities of painting with its true abstract nature.
I have shown nationally at such places as the Americas Society Gallery in NYC, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Art Museum of the Americas, both in Washington D.C and extensively in the south, especially in Texas and Florida. Internationally, I have shown at the Chopo Museum in Mexico City and Byblos Art Gallery in Verona, Italy.
My MFA is from the University of Pennsylvania (1990) and my BFA is from Southern Methodist University (1988). From 1991 to 2000 I was a tenured Associate Professor of Studio Art at the University of Texas at Austin and in 2001 was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Art Practice before deciding to move to Tallahassee where I became the Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art from 2002-2008. Currently I am a professor at FSU where I serve as the Painting and Drawing Area Head.
Major awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting, a Mid-America Arts Alliance/NEA Fellowship Award in Painting, State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Award in painting & a Kimbrough Award from the Dallas Museum of Art. Residencies include a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Artists Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Milton & Sally Avery Fellowship and a visiting artist at the Ludwig Foundation in Havana, Cuba.
My formal painting concerns have led me to use the conservative landscape as my subject and traditional plein-air painting as my process, in my attempts to reconcile the abstract nature of painting with its representational role. From a distance, I draw the viewer into what is first perceived as a dense but conventional space. Up close, however, the images break down; the lush, gestural paint marks, squeezed-out paint patches and areas of raw canvas help, instead, to reinforce the 2-D character of abstract painting as both an activity and an end-product.
By definition, plein-air painting means to work on-site, to experience nature first-hand. For me, this seemingly passé mode of painting is today injected with new relevance and urgency as it helps underscore how removed most of our own experiences and even images of nature have become. In my works, I want the viewer to discover how the landscape reveals itself in cumulative and unexpected ways. Ways that will hopefully create a desire to engage more fully, directly and positively in our own environment and to do so before it is too late.