Art Exhibition: Carlos Luna’s “Deep Line Drawings”


The Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida, will exhibit works by Carlos Luna, a Cuban artist who left Cuba in the 90s, spent a decade in Mexico, and then settled in Miami, Florida, where he continues to work today. “Deep Line Drawings” by Carlos Luna opens on August 7 and runs through December 31, 2017.

Description: Weaving together the artistic roots of his native Cuba with influences from Mexico, Carlos Luna’s art explores the layers of personal and popular stories that have shaped his world. In Deep Line Drawings, the artist invites viewers to experience the depth of the line and the richness that is underneath the skin of his work. Luna incorporates cultural symbols and language in his use of traditional processes to reveal a vibrant look at modern perceptions of Latin America.

Carlos Luna was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1969. [. . .] Luna’s work is semi-autobiographical and reflects the influence of the three countries where he has lived, in particular the rural Cuba of his childhood. Luna grew up in an area where the beliefs and culture of the Cuban descendants of African Yoruba culture are particularly strong. The sacred forest is home to medicinal plants and the deified ancestors, orishas, whose symbols often appear in Luna’s work. Eyes are a recurring theme, reflecting both the watchful government as well as Eleggua, the Afro-Cuban trickster god who observes human folly and accomplishment.

Luna’s recurring patterns and sinuous lines reflect the energy and rhythms of the lively guajiro music of his childhood. This area of the countryside is also known for producing the high quality tobacco used to make the famous Havana cigars. This is another motif that shows up in Luna’s work, sometimes in the mouth of the mustached guajiro man on horseback. Another common theme is the small but brave and feisty rooster, a symbol of Cuba and a kind of alter ego for the artist.

Luna tells stories, whether they are remembered from his childhood or gleaned from popular media, and often includes words in both English and Spanish. These can be common idioms, clever word play, or Cuban slang, sometimes written backwards.

“Deep Line Drawings is about the line underneath the surface,” Luna says about this exhibition, “underneath the skin.”

[Image above: Carlos Luna’s “El oráculo (The Oracle), 2017, gouache and charcoal on amate paper. Courtesy of the artist.]

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