This year the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico
commemorates its Twenty-fifth Anniversary. The year-long celebration begins with an exhibition of Arnaldo Roche Rabells (1955) recent work, entitled "Azul" (Blue). The opening is scheduled for Saturday, October 24 at 7:00pm.
Roche Rabell is a distinguished Puerto Rican artist, renowned both locally and internationally for his striking and challenging work. His paintings are characterized by their exploration of the limits of figuration and the representation of the human body, their expansion of the use of color, and their employment of a narrative art that ranges from an emblematic and direct political questioning to construction of a subjectivity centered on Roches personal myths. The public and private have often coincided in this work, which is known for its brilliant palette, its formal daring, and its focus on the human body and an inventory of ordinary objects.
Blue represents a substantial shift in Roches characteristic practices. By using, almost exclusively, a monochromatic blue palette and a pure white line, an almost sculptural carving of the paint on the paper or canvas, and an extremely large format, Roche has redefined his ideas about figure, ground, and story, as well as the ways he attacks and works the pictorial surface. The iconography characteristic of Roche is still here in these new images, but austerely reconfigured, to charge them anew with meaning.
The new sobriety displayed by Roche in his paintings, distancing itself from the explosion of texture and color in his earlier works, may be unexpected by the many viewers familiar with his work, but this new style was latent in paintings done as early as the 1970s and 1980s. To illustrate this development, along with the recent works Blue will contain some of the earlier paintings that foreshadowed this new direction.
"Azul" (Blue) was curated by Lilliana Ramos-Collado, Ivette Fred-Rivera, and Marianne Ramírez-Aponte, MACs Executive Director. Educational programming for this exhibition includes activities for children and adults led by MACs Education staff and guest lecturers from the University of Puerto Rico and the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. The exhibition will be open through December 20, 2009.