Here’s news from the Larchmont Public Library:
Cuban artist Humberto Chavez, a member of the Mamaroneck Artists Guild in Larchmont, was recognized by New York State Sen. George Latimer at a reception in Chavez’s honor at the Larchmont Public Library’s Oresman Galleryon May 4.
Chavez’s exhibit, “Revisiting Dreams and Memories” opened in the Library’s gallery on Thursday, May 2. Senator Latimer praised Chavez for his exhibit, thanked the artist for sharing his works with the community and presented the artist with New York State’s Certificate of Merit.
Humberto Chavez’ artwork is inspired by memories of his childhood and adolescence in Havana, Cuba, and its environs. The exhibit is on display now through May 30. The exhibit is free and open to everyone during normal library hours.
Photo Credit: Geoff Colquitt
Humberto Chávez left his native Cuba in the 1960’s to study art in New York City at Parsons School of Design. A Bauhaus based curriculum, with experimental courses in architecture, construction, color and design, together with the influence of relevant American and European artists from the 1970’s and 80’s, became a solid art foundation for him. His career flourished and his work has been seen in more than 70 North American exhibitions, including many University galleries as well as the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York, the Center for Fine Arts in Florida and several galleries and art museums in Europe. Chávez also lived and worked in Portugal, where his sculpture is represented in the permanent collection of the Gulbenkian Museum.
In his artwork, Chávez tends to depict the natural beauty of Cuba. His landscapes capture the alluring sunlight and verdant geography of the largest Caribbean island; his seascapes are swept by the salty air made famous by Hemingway. Often juxtaposing Caribbean and European elements – Spanish fans, stained glass windows, ornamental iron work, architectural details – his work suggests that foreign elements imposed by outsiders can never alter the intrinsic cultural nature of an island.
Neither politics nor nostalgia has characterized the art of Humberto Chávez; yet his work from the 90’s contain romantic elements such as stained glass, dramatic sunsets and rusting colonial ironwork. After he returned to Havana in 2001, he created paintings inspired by the poetry of Nicolás Guillén and Dulce María Loynaz, some of which are concurrently included in this exhibition with some of his most recent work. Chavez’ painting “Graced by White Foam” is based on Nicolás Guillén’s (1902-1989) poem, “A Long Green Crocodile”. Guillén, an Afro-Cuban poet, journalist, political activist and writer, was greatly inspired by the living conditions of Afro-Cubans in the early days of the Cuban republic and thereafter. His painting, “I Am the House” is based on the Dulce María Loynaz (1902-1997) poem “I Am the House – Memories Through Time”.
Chavez believes that art is a way of sorting through one’s history. When he migrated to New York and began to create paintings during the 1970’s and 1980’s, forms and colors emerged from his memories of Havana. “Though I’ve lived in New York for nearly five decades now, the aim of my landscapes and seascapes has been to capture the alluring sunlight and verdant geography of the island home of my childhood”, says Chavez. Since then much of my painting has been about my early years – dreams and remembrances of a lush island. Everything remained sharp in my mind, so much so that upon returning to Cuba in 2001, my first visit in 40 years; it seemed I had never left”.
To learn more about Humberto Chavez, visit the artist online at www.humbertochavez.net.
For more information about the exhibit, call the library at (914) 834-2281 or visit the library online at www.larchmontlibrary.org. Please call or visit the library online for exhibit hours.