Carlos Gamez de Francisco

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ARTIST’S STATEMENT

Carlos Gamez de Francisco’s paintings are exquisitely detailed and beautifully executed in a realist manner. However, the artist takes many liberties with his subjects, placing them in a mix of contemporary and historically-inspired costumes and fantastical dream-like settings. While some have a darker quality with a surrealist edge, most have an almost Baroque aesthetic, employing richly-patterned textiles and decorative motifs that recall 18th and 19th-century portraits of royalty and members of the upper class. But the work quickly diverges from the historical, exposing and perhaps even celebrating the artifice of it all. Contemporary hairstyles or status symbols such as sunglasses frequently adorn his figures, bridging the past with the present. More often than not, Carlos’ dewey-skinned models seem to have stepped off the pages of a fashion illustration magazine or an influencer instagram feed with immediacy and youthful nowness.

 

Carlos was born in Post-Revolutionary Cuba, and started painting eight hours a day when he was 15-years old. “In Cuba,” he explains, “ I was exposed to figurative arts by the presence of the Russian Academy. This presence, as well as the censorship of contemporary art and the limited access to information, was the accepted dogma. Consequently, I understood that de-contextualizing epochs and artistic symbols was the tool I could use to establish a connection between the present and the past. The resulting work provides an escape from reality and creates an illusory world. I am more fascinated in altering history than depicting it accurately.”

 

Carlos maintains an ongoing portrait photography practice alongside his painting. His series The Power of the Powerless, has been shot on his many trips to Cuba. The work features the younger generation of Cubans, adorned in costumes assembled entirely from clothing, textiles, and every-day objects such as drapes, kitchen scrubbers, and plastic bags, found in their own homes. Carlos says his intent is to show the models in positions of power and pride, but ironic undertones persist, with symbols of high and low culture, and the past and present interweaving to create a world full of beauty and poetry, and free of rules. 

 

ABOUT

Carlos Gamez de Francisco continued his art education with a Distinguished Scholarship at the Art Institute of Chicago and lived in Kentucky for many years before moving to Fort Myers, Texas. He has received numerous awards including the Fine Art Photographer of the Year at Moscow International Photo Awards, the Honorable Mention at International Color Awards and Tokyo International Photo Awards; the Museum Guild Purchase Award at Evansville Museum; the SAIC Distinguished Scholarship at The Art Institute of Chicago. He has had solo shows at many important institutions, and has work in the collections of the 21c Museum, Louisville, KY; the Fashion Resource Center at The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center, Miami, FL; and the Louisville Metro Hall, Louisville, KY; as well as in private collections worldwide.

 

 

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