Project Description


Alicia H. Torres

I was born in Colombia. Studied in Barranquilla at Marymount School. Spent four years in Switzerland where I studied art history. There I had the chance to visit European museums and enjoy and admire what I love most – art and all of its expressions. I graduated in psycho-pedagogy at the Corporación Universitaria de la Costa. Presently, I reside in Miami, Florida, where I took Ikebana classes at Fairchild Tropical Gardens with the Japanese teacher Mieko Kubota and ceramic classes with the master Rafael Consuegra where I had my first exhibition. I also took portrait classes with Yovani Bauta. I have completed painting courses for five years at Miami Dade College with renowned painter Baruj Salinas. Artist Statement Creativity is my motivator, what truly comes from the inside out and the only thing that brings me satisfaction and happiness. My work contains the beauty and the admiration of the world. I follow in my abstraction the path of life and its elements. The texture, composition and intense colors are the main elements of my paintings put into a paper, canvas or a board. The figures are ambiguous, sometimes distorted to make abstraction, scattered all over the sea, the earth, the sky, the mountain, where they are seen and suddenly disappear creating a play before our eyes. I use brush marks, light and heavy layers of paint, paper, gesso, oxide or fabric to create a hybrid art form in any composition. My goal and desire are to release emotions in my paintings where they become a language to communicate with the spectator where each one provides a different interpretation but they still keep the universal meaning. Painting is my way of expression and my joy of living. My soul is left in every work of art which is inspired by the simplest things of life and the grandeur of the creation.

Ramirez Vallejo

My constant search of techniques and concepts has shaped my present work; acquiring sense from an eternal reflection of reality and its social environment. The ideas manifested in my work are more defined every day where the technique, the composition, the texture, the impasto, and the controlled accidents are important participants.

I immerse myself in the painting and instead of reproducing the colors as they are, or should be, I prefer to generate arbitrary actions that lead me to new spaces; there, I can express myself with greater force to the point of generating in me a passion that translates into a total unity that is only finished when it becomes my favorite. All my experiences contribute to the enrichment of my work and its use is determined by real or imaginary selections that are realized throughout the creative process. This gives coherence to the painting as speech with a dialogue that can be deeply rational, or on the contrary, it only invites to see with feelings. Meaning that when I work on a painting or on a sculpture drives me towards a concrete form and this is what I like about my work creating as I am being conducted by my inner force. There are eternal dialogues, mental conferences of ideas, symposiums, debates that occur during this process. I like to go from the real to the abstract, from the conceptual and the rational to the gestural and spiritual.

By means of techniques, always mixed, I look to be able to work large formats for public spaces, and medium format for interior spaces. My work begins with a concept or an idea translated in a subject like the atrocities of war, the duplicitous morality, the lack of identity, the abuse of authority, child abuse, the beauty of the woman etc. I tense a sculpture into different levels until the vision glides over it or I place impasto, textures, colors to a painting which translate into sensations that somehow communicate and invite to watch, to avoid that it goes further inadvertently.

The subjects are born from my everyday life, from my vision of the daily occurrences, or from a historical revision that I am doing on a topic. The subject or reason begins to live with me, to sleep with me, to be associated with what I see; it is repetitive. As a result I investigate it, I read about it, learning every day more details. This happens for a while until for some reason I see how to place it on something like a sculpture, a painting, a sketch and with that I determine what materials will allow me to communicate and better materialize the idea.

I am always studying what happens around me, experimenting with new ideas, to continue creating a heap of techniques to which I will draw from when a work piece requests it. Generally my work walks with me making dynamics alive, something that pleases me enormously. I am not a painter or sculptor of a single technique, a single style, or a single idea. My vision is somewhat postmodern, philosophically speaking; it allows the transformation of the need to express an idea and materialized it in a work of art. To be ready I have handle and master many techniques. I let all the techniques work with my thoughts, thus allowing new ideas to flow.

It has been a path of more than 20 years where every day I have something new to say and hope to continue doing it. I am always trying to say something, some understand me others misinterpret me. I like to celebrate others as much as I celebrate myself.

“The Magical and Ludic of the carnival of Barranquilla”

The Carnival of Barranquilla whose main character is Joselito Carnival, who is born, dies and is reborn every year.  The actors of this ludic theater, communicative, authentic, full of laughter, mischievous, sweaty and euphoric, are the city’s own inhabitants who spend twelve months working on this spectacular event that during four days turning time into life and adding to the latter dances, music, masks, rum and joy. The inhabitant of Barranquilla turns this magical, folklore and mythological celebration into a new dawn and a new hope until the coming year. For this re-charging of energies there is no age, no race, no social class, no cultural class, no limits, no fears, no frontiers, but one communion intertwined  into a musical hymn, one for all an all for one to enjoy to the hilt this carnival and the current reality of “who lives it is who enjoys it”.

In my paintings I highlight bright and insinuating colors; reds, blues, yellows, greens and oranges, surrounding the bodies within the strength borne by the color and the forms as a response to my emotions and thoughts, and also recalling the culture where I grew up. The characters, with their costumes of congos, garabatos, monocucos, marimondas and animals such as the tiger, the elephant, and the donkey do take me to a world across time voicing their history, their happy past, full of adventure and that shall remain pending in the future. I do wish to honor and offer this unique cultural repertoire of dances, entertainment, litanies, music and theater where my people conceal themselves, they lose their inhibitions, become critical or show a different personality throughout the carnival.

I use a semi-figurative character to broach the Colombian northern seaboard carnival realism and abstract expressionism in its allegorical aspect. My paintings, installations, and ensamblages do reflect my roots, my memories, my experiences in the Caribbean, my region. With this exhibit, I wish to make a small homage to it and my goal is to re-construct a long story in a short documentary about our heritage and its participants. I have tried, as best as I can, to capture the tradition of the carnival and the manner in which it does manage to unite the people in one great local and national party without loosing its current universality. The carnival of Barranquilla is a cultural and creative fusion of three peoples; the indigenous, the european and the african, where are gathered the expressions of that grand event that is our carnival, declared national heritage by the Government and by the Unesco as tangible and intangible heritage of humanity.

Nevertheless, I cannot neglect the fact that throughout these days, the whole world reality is depicted crudely disguised in the comedies, litanies, costumes, parodies, music and songs where, in a burlesque and satirical manner, critic and jocularity is blandished, to entertain even the most candid, without leaving any trace of resentment, vengeance or hate. The magic that springs there from is contagious, and it is the only time in the year when everybody can invent a new life.

In order to understand the carnival you just reach the facts, recognize the symbolisms contained by these collective popular festival and enter the soul that not only includes Barranquilla, but also the inhabitants of the Magdalena River banks as well as the Caribbean Ocean, where it is the same people who are played during four days and become real. It is the renaissance of a people based upon laughter, magic and interplay.

I show the carnival as something perdurable, where new generations will continue loving, desiring and missing it, maintaining it as the grand banner of our culture. I invite the audience, the public in general, to seek their own images in my work, to come out from their interior world and to let loose their memory so as to place themselves in their own reality, with their own mask.

Behind that mask, where we conceal our outside world, experiences, affective bonds and freedom wishes and let loose our hidden self.