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The Art of Pinar del Rio An Exhibition at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park
11/1/2013 8:31:08 PM

Charleston, SC— The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents The Art of Pinar del Rio, an exhibition of works by more than a dozen contemporary Cuban artists curated by local artist Reynier Llanes. This exhibition will be displayed at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park from November 16, 2013 until December 29, 2013. The opening reception is from 5pm until 7pm on Saturday, November 16, 2013. Reynier Llanes will host a lecture at the gallery on Saturday, December 7 at 3pm. The exhibition, opening reception, and lecture are all free and open to the public.

As a student in Cuba, Llanes could not look online or search out museums to find the works of European masters for inspiration. Instead, he found it in the art around him – that of his fellow students and instructors. He began collecting and trading works with his cohort while still in school. When he left for the US in 2007, he brought what works he had with him. Llanes has continued to collect contemporary art from outside the Cuban capital of Havana, and has amassed a collection of works by his contemporaries.

Collectively these artists exhibit several different styles of work, ranging from magic surrealism to more traditional landscapes and figurative expressions. However, their artwork has a common message of harmony, unity, family and reflections of today’s Cuban society. In addition to works by Reynier Llanes, exhibited artists will include Ulises Bretaña, Javier Ampudia, Livan Hernandez, Lores Arquimides, Yaciel Marinez, Danis Ozuna, Juan M. Suarez, Pedro Oliva, Martha Camacho, Juan C. Morales, and others.

These artists have created works that exhibit their freedom of expression, distinguishing them from their predecessors whose work was controlled by government supervision.

About the Artist: Reynier Llanes is a painter born on August 15, 1985, in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, which is home to many of the country’s most outstanding artists. Llanes completed his training at Instructores de Arte in Pinar del Rio in 2004. He was tutored by one of the country’s most recognized artists, Juan Miguel Suarez, who taught him how to transform paintings with an enhanced application of colors and more sophisticated use of materials and techniques. Despite the economic hardships and intrusive nature of the Cuban government, Llanes worked to develop his talent as a fine art painter. Llanes felt restricted by the limitations on self-expression imposed by the government and the resulting constraints on making a living as an artist. He made the journey to the United States in 2007 and is now a legal resident and is working on becoming a US Citizen.

Upon arriving in the US, Llanes immersed himself in painting in oils on canvas, as the medium was readily accessible. However, in 2010, the memories of home and the aroma of coffee brought him back to painting with Cuban coffee on paper. The smoky effect of the coffee works like watercolor to create a surreal atmosphere in his work. This unique medium is representative of not only a cultural tradition, but the limitations imposed on Cuban artists. Llanes currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina and works with renowned artist Jonathan Green at his studio in Daniel Island, SC. His outstanding work has been recognized in both Cuba and the United States. Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. awarded Reynier with a "purchase award" for the art collection of the city of Charleston. Through studio resources, he is learning different art management methods and is committed to collecting contemporary art from Pinar del Rio. He hopes that by preserving his cultural heritage that he can educate and inspire. With this exhibition he intends to create a contextual frame of aligned work that both reflects and contrasts his artistic vision. 

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