Julio Valdez: Dreams & Reflections
June Kelley Gallery
166 Mercer Street, New York
April 7 - May 9, 2017
A native of the Dominican Republic, his work reflects both moment and timeless vagueness. A hybrid visual language between figurative and abstraction is created in these recent trancelike paintings.
Valdez says, the exhibition Dreams & Reflections, is, in part, an allusion to memories, dreams, reflections and Carl Jung’s exploration of the psyche. In the Caribbean region, the surrounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea create a sense of light and space that are at once a blessing and a curse.
“My paintings explore this oceanic landscape that is both illusory and dreamlike. I have been examining images of water beyond its physical characteristics, as a metaphor for consciousness and the creative process. My recent work reflects my interest in creating a spatial uncertainty, a sense of time not yet defined.”
Valdez’s paintings of the natural world’s beauty, purity and truth evolve as autonomous pictorial language simplified by his concern with location, atmosphere as well as the vagaries of time. In Skaneateles Grey Abstraction, the attendant effects of light and chiaroscuro illumination with extensive mark-making effect a composition where within incalculable spatial volume; planes appear to melt away as transparencies or into shadow.
Valdez’s paintings continue to impress as aquatic theaters reflecting a view of the sea that radiates back to the viewer as dreamlike, if not, hypnotic.
Paintings often generate response in the mind and the intuitive system of the viewer. Through a form of kinesthesia empathy (sensation of movement) the rhythmic articulation or ruffling of the sea water in Las Terrenas Abstractions, can be felt. In the overall image Valdez creates a closeness of tone between hues of greens, blues and whites that resonates like a composite sound, a chord, with the ripples forming a visual cadence.
For Valdez, the sea is a world where nature and consciousness meet, where water, as well as the intensity of the light, are both his focus and constant symbols of a Dominican’s devotion to his island.
This new series, says Valdez, has been inspired by diverse places such as the Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestún, a large coastal wetland reserve and wildlife refuge in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, Las Terrenas and Cayo Arenas, both in the Dominican Republic, as well as Skaneateles Lake, the smallest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. These places allow me to experience a communion with nature and its cycles, which I have found are an inviting entry point to my own inner explorations.