FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"La Cubanera Llego! (The Cubans are Here!)
Jorge Sicre / Viredo Espinosa / Juan J. Perez
September 15 - October 7, 2007
Opening Night Reception: Saturday, September 15, 6-9pm
Lake Arrowhead Gallery and Museum of Art
In the Willow Woods Art Colony
28561 Highway 18, Sky Forest 92385
(near Lake Arrowhead)
Web site, http://www.lagma.org
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday 12-4pm, and Sunday 10-1pm or by appointment.
Sicre is an artist of Picassian range and artistic invention. He is the only grandson of the author of the giant Marti monument in Havana's Plaza De La Revolución, Juan Jose Sicre, who was credited by contemporary encyclopedia for introducing modernism to cuban art. His cousin, Antonio Gattorno, led the Avant Garde ("Los Once"). Sicres imagistic work spans every idiom from abstraction to classicism but is at its root fed by the fountainhead of modernity, the mythic world of 19th century symbolism which sought what Paul Gaugin called "The mysterious source of human thought." Sicres grew up in Cleveland, his father played in it's fabled orchestra. Upon graduating high school, he studied first zoology then art history at the University of California, where he met his former wife of twelve years. With her he spent 6 months soaking up art and culture in Europe in live of attending graduate school. Upon his return he exhibited at the Women's City Club Gallery, later the couple moved to Bucks County, PA, where Sicre was active in the Philadelphia art world where he curated an important exhibit of Latin American art at Nexus Gallery. In 1985 the Sicres moved to Long Beach, California where he continued a prolific production of paintings, collages, drawings and sculpture. Many of them grace book covers and a fine art inspired line of shoes and accessories. A protégé of deconstructionist philosopher Derida, Greg Lambert compares Sicre's art with philosophy of Kant and introduced his images to an array of significant other philosophers and writers, many of whom found a resonance and even a device which helps clarify the focus of their own work
Much of Viredo's later art was based on his childhood interaction with this mix of Catholicism, Santeria rites, and Calabar ceremonies. Viredo learned African heritage from these people, including a ninety-year old former slave who told him of the terror of coming from Africa on a slave ship. His mature style began to develop. He liked the control of the early cubists, but rejected the abstract expressionism because he felt it lacked a definite subject matter. While his paintings were somewhat abstract with the geometry of cubism, the figures were stylized and recognizable. He didn't prefer a particular palette, but almost always used a great deal of white as a reference point for other colors. He used texture to soften color planes and to add a sense of motion. In 1948, Viredo achieved his first artistic success at the annual Book Faire (Feria Del Libro), in Havana's Central Park.
Viredo continued to show with various "Los Once" artists and to paint mural commissions. In 1955, he received his largest commission: the murals and design of ceramics and stained glass windows for the Embassy Club. The commission allowed him to marry Alicia Sanchez in February of that year. By 1956, the political situation in Cuba was becoming increasing strained. Some of the art exhibited by members of "Los Once" came under the scrutiny of the Batista regime because of perceived anti-government sentiments. It was a time of terrorist bombings in Havana, rumors of police surveillance, and the disappearance of artists. Viredo, simply stopped showing paintings and assumed a low profile. Viredo worked quietly in commercial illustration and design for the next three years. In 1965, Viredo decided that he and his wife must leave Cuba. Finally, after three-and-a half years of labor, his number on the waiting list for daily Freedom Flight was called. They were allowed to take nothing except the clothes they were wearing. In February of 1969, he saw Cuba for the last time as his plane departed for Miami.
Local galleries in Los Angeles and nearby Orange County began to exhibit his works. His sales increased and he was able to secure mural commissions. His subject matter remained the rich culture of the Cuba. He continued to offer his work to help the Cuban community. He designed posters for the Cuban-American Scholarship Fund and donated art work to raise money for various charitable causes Finally, Viredo began to receive the recognition he had long deserved. Beginning in 1998 he received commendations from the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Assembly for his service to the community. In addition, he was awarded "Local Hero Award" by PBS station KCET and Union Bank of California. In 2000, he received the "La Palma Espinada" from the Cuban Culture Institute. Most importantly, Viredo continues to make art. Like his native Cuba, he has experienced joy and sorrow in his seventy-two years. And yet after all he has seen and experienced, his work still radiates with the mysterious blend of cultures that he experienced in his youth in Regla and that continues to work its magic on him and all those who see his art.
JUAN J PEREZ
Born in Sagua La Grande Cuba. Juan began painting at the age of 8. Luckily, for him and his family, notice his talent and he received a very extensive art education. He became an art teacher and a very prolific muralist painter In 1972 he left Cuba and went to Spain for 3 years were he toiled as a manual laborer to support his family. Every so often he was able to do what he liked best, paint murals. Banking institutions loved his work and now there are several banks in Madrid, Spain, that have proudly maintained his murals throughout the years. After leaving Spain, he came to Los Angeles, California and became a graphics artist for the Department of Water and Power (DWP). In his retirement, Juan has returned to creating art and now has exhibitions in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. He resides in Arizona with his wife of 52 years.