20 July 2013


 © Brandon Queen, 2013
 The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art is  hosting one half of the Puerta al paisaje exhibit, a show organised in conjunction with the Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art of the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras. This part of the exhibit, entitled Entremundanos (Interworlders), regroups the work of established artists and further explores the relationship between the artist's gaze and the landscape.

The most notable works in this exhibit are without a doubt those by Myrna Báez, an artist active since the 50's. Báez's work is masterful; she perfectly manipulates colour and texture to create captivating visual narratives. Of all her works on display in this show there are two that stand out for their pensive beauty:  Pensando en Proust (Thinking of Proust) and Mangle en las salinas (Mangroves in the Salt Marsh). Both paintings arrest first the eyes and then the mind, creating a contemplative artistic experience for the viewer.

The next most impressive piece in this show is a sculptural installation by Jaime Suárez entitled Galerías de la Tierra (Hall of Regions). This as a true delight for the senses, as the use of paper and clay sheets suspended from the ceiling gives one the very real impression of wandering through the deepest caverns of the Earth's surface layers. The monumental size and deft use of the materials provides the viewer with the approximative experience of a natural phenomenon.

Another notable contribution to Entremundanos is the series of photographs by John Betancourt, Puerto Rico: Calor. These black and white shots of landscapes and the built envrionment are technically very well executed and reflect their title perfectly; one can actually sense the heat of the day in each photograph, inspite of the cool black and white tones. There is a variety of compositions that were perfectly chosen and captured, which demonstrates the mastery Betancourt has over his medium.

These three artists are certainly some of the best in Puerto Rico and - I would venture - in the world. Each one shows a full understanding of their medium and has a sense of how to communicate with the viewer regardless of the latter's understanding of fine art. All three artists' works are a pleasure to encounter and any collection would be all the more complete with their presence.

The exhibit runs through September 2013 at the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico.