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New Surreal Paintings by Julio Valdez at June Kelly Gallery
Julio Valdez, Aqueous Self Portrait II, 2008-09. Oil on linen, 59 x 64 inches. Photo: Courtesy June Kelly Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- An exhibition of new surreal paintings by Julio Valdez – a native of the Dominican Republic who draws his sensual inspiration and his palate of rich blues and greens from the sea that laps the island’s shores -- opened at the June Kelly Gallery on May 14. The works will remain on view through June 15.

The exhibition title, In the Same Path as the Sun, refers to a line in a popular poem about the Dominican Republic, “There is a Country in the World,” by Pedro Mir. It is also the title of his first two Water Paintings executed in the summer of 2004. “Those paintings,” says Valdez, “opened a new formal exploration of my painting process, in which I minimize the brushwork while creating a more fluid representation.”

“I continue to expand that exploration in these new paintings,” Valdez comments. “ I have been using very thin layers of richly pigmented oils, inks and acrylics over varied surfaces, such as rice paper on linen, Styrene Plastic and Mylar.”

Valdez’s paintings are aquatic theaters, the staging grounds for the artist’s reflections on his personal life and on the collective history of the Caribbean, where the water is a constant symbol of a Dominican’s exile from the wider world and at the same time his connection to it.

Valdez’s mystical reveries capture the allure of the light, the strength and the spatial ambiguity of the ocean. Its transparency and visual instability create an enthralling sense of isolation and shelter, freedom and yet threat. He gives us a world where nature and consciousness mingle, where the sensuality of the tropics meets the isolation of the island man, and where dreams of travel to distant lands are tempered by the powerful emotional bonds of home.

The exhibition is accompanied by a new monograph, Julio Valdez, with an essay by Federica Palomero, former chief curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas, Venezuela, and illustrations of many of his paintings.

Valdez was born in Santo Domingo and studied at Altos de Chavόn School of Design in La Romana, which is associated with Parsons School of Design, New York. He also studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, and worked with printmakers Robert Blackburn and Kathy Caraccio in New York. He lives and works in New York City.

Valdez’s works have been shown in many one-person and group exhibitions in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe. His work is represented in numerous public, corporate and private collections, including El Museo del Barrio, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA.; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey; Musée Grimaldi, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Museum of Modern Art, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Omar Rayo Museum, Roldanillo, Colombia; the Library of Congress and The World Bank, Washington, DC.

June Kelly Gallery | Julio Valdez | "In the Same Path as the Sun" |

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