Artist commentary about the exhibition "American Rural Idylls", curated by Henry Ballate  

Kendall Art Center | Miami video credit: Angeles Productions 2018

My paintings relate to the theme of location and to my quest for defining a sense of identity and belonging. As a child I was forced to abandon my Cuban home, following my family to Miami in their flight from the Castro dictatorship. After having partially grown up in the United States, I feel somewhat estranged from my birthplace. Yet, branded by a well-defined Cuban accent, I am, to the American national, an outsider. Caught in between two worlds, I find myself displaced and in need of consolidating an essence of “home”.

 As result, my work presents a duality. On the one hand, my paintings of flat horizon-less fields reveal a reclusive, introverted self. Facing a near-at-hand subject, I find asylum in a time and space that provide immediate comfort and familiarity. Through the more traditional open-field landscapes, on the other hand, I intend to capture a more wholesome picture of how I see and experience my adoptive nation. My recent work, in fact, represents the landscape of my home state of Florida, and not the Cuban soil where I originate. By this act, I have uprooted myself from the past and have chosen to depict the present.

 

The overflow of technology into daily life is one more factor that inspires my artistic practice. People often experience a flattened version of the world from their devices, denying themselves a tangible, polychromatic experience of reality. In reaction to our present condition, I have chosen to work from observation. I paint either directly in front of my sources, or inspired by a combination of direct experience, memory, and photography.  I like to stand in close proximity to my subjects, where I am able to touch, feel, hear, and perceive information in high detail.  Oil painting is my preferred medium of practice. It allows me to faithfully capture the subject’s identity while remaining true to my personal style.

 

I strive to create visually-engaging works of art that reconnect onlookers to memories, sensations and emotions, in a manner unique to the medium of painting. Instead of rejecting progress, I am one who embraces the current times and seeks to provide amelioration in that which is currently lacking: among many things, the need to remain grounded and personally engaged with the world around us.  

 

Miguel Saludes | Naples | 2018

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