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Carlos Luna at Boca Raton Museum of Art

Carlos Luna, Vocesss (Voicesss), 2017, gouache and charcoal on amate paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Carlos Luna, Vocesss (Voicesss), 2017, gouache and charcoal on amate paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Through December 31, 2017

“Deep Line Drawings,” by Cuban-born Carlos Luna, is on view at Boca Museum. Early in his career, Luna, born in Pinar del Río, Cuba, in 1969, learned from Picasso’s Cubism, Leger’s mechanical images and Latin American Baroque, as well as great Cuban artists such as Wifredo Lam and Mario Carreño. After leaving Cuba in 1991, Luna lived in Puebla, Mexico, and absorbed its culture, particularly the storytelling techniques of the Mexican muralists and the decorative motifs of its ceramics. In 2002, he moved to Miami, where he still resides.

Luna’s work includes paintings, ceramics and drawings on amate paper, which is handmade from tree bark in a process that dates to pre-Columbian times. He then applies paint, scrapes it away and continues to build up layers that result in subtle surfaces and refined images. This show includes paintings, drawings and an installation of ceramic plates placed on a newly painted mural.

Luna’s work is semi-autobiographical and evidences the influence of the three countries in which he has lived, in particular the rural Cuba of his childhood. He grew up in an area where the beliefs and myths of the Cuban descendants of African Yoruba culture are particularly strong. The sacred forest is home to medicinal plants and the deified ancestors, orichas, whose symbols often appear in his work.

His imagery also presents recurring patterns and sinuous lines that come from the rhythms of the lively guajiro music. There are other elements common to his works, including figures of peasants on horseback and roosters (a kind of alter ego for Luna). He frequently includes words and phrases that combine English, Spanish and Cuban slang. Luna’s work demands from the viewer a knowledge of the most distinctive cultural symbols of the three main social contexts that have nurtured his artistic trajectory. Each piece is a challenge to be interpreted and deciphered. www.bocamuseum.org

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