LATIN AMERICAN MASTERS - HOMAGE TO ARNALDO ROCHE IN CALIFORNIA
“The groundwork for a new way of conceiving culture and the individual is at stake in Roche's paintings”, which will be the center of an homage Latin American Masters will host for Arnaldo Roche from March 14th until May 2nd.
Arnaldo Roche (Puerto Rico, 1955-2018), was one of the most important Latin American artists of his generation and Latin American Masters exhibited his paintings for two decades. Homage features sixteen of Roche’s paintings and celebrates the legacy of this gifted artist.
Roche may be best known for his remarkable Self-Portraits, eight of which are included in Homage. The subject of self-portraiture allowed Roche to investigate the complexities of identity, the tensions of the private self and public persona. “What gives the paintings of Roche their particular intensity is, among other things, their focus on the individual. The issue is not mankind grappling with time and mortality but the individual enveloped in and seizing the world. This is the ecstatic and angry intersection of consciousness and time” – words published by Cuban curator Ricardo Pau-Llosa in a 2001 printed issue of magazine Arte al día internacional.
Homage also includes a remarkable group of still-lives, which combine expressionistic violence with passages of tender, votive beauty. The singularity of Roche, as Pau-Llosa defines, was his ability to fuse Baroque and Expressionist elements into a style that webs different elements of life in the “layering of slashed paint, exposing the ardent bloods of pigments beneath, as if the pictorial plane were but a garment”
In 2005 Roche began painting increasingly monochromatic works in tones of blue. Roche said these paintings “were triggered by the Tsunamis that devastated Indonesia” in 2005. Thereafter, Man’s vulnerability to natural disasters became a persistent theme in Roche’s work. Homage includes several examples of Roche’s monochromatic “Blue Paintings,” including mask-like works, combining gesso, oil, and wood.
Whatever the imagery of an individual work, Roche’s art is unified by his singular vision and densely layered engagement with paint. Roche said it best, “It is the physical act of painting which ratifies the urgency of my ideas.” This way, Roche reproduced a discourse that trusts the social power of images and conveys his idea of a Latin America that can be “equally free, sovereign and prosperous”
Arnaldo Roche’s many exhibits include: Latin American Masters of the Twentieth Century, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1992-1993; Humor and Rage, Caixa Foundation, Barcelona, Spain, 2001; Paint Made Flesh (with Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud), Phillips Collection Washington D.C., 2010; and Caribbean Crossroads, El Museo del Barrio, New York, 2012.