Ernesto García Peña between love and the beauty of body and soul
By María del Carmen Sánchez, Photos: Courtesy of the interviewee
The long career of this visual artist says it all: exhibitions, awards, widely recognized in Cuba, America and Europe. In his country, he has received the Distinction for National Culture and the Rubén Martínez Villena Order, awarded for the most significant artistic work, among others.
The main motivation of Ernesto García Peña (Matanzas, 1949) is to create, to express his desires, concerns and ideas, and to do it with passion and art. To reflect unconditional love, the beauty of the body, of the soul.
The human being is an attraction for him, he told CubaPLUS Magazine. It’s his muse, whether hidden or obvious, and it underscores any expression of art, of life. “I am inspired, moved and dazzled me. That interrelation between the being and his universe, which is multiple and fortunately contradictory, that flourishes in that intricate weave of the mysterious and magical.”
And this is how he sees art as one of the ways to save everything, because it contains splendor, the most forceful expression of the greatest effort, feelings and aspirations of any kind, with the ability to always find a higher stage. In art, there is a renewing and nonconformist presence that will always be in constant development and creation.
Love and eroticism are recurring themes in the work of this famous painter, and to a question about whether they will continue to be a constant in his work, he answers yes, “although this does not invalidate the co-existence or role played by other ways to express it.”
“I have always made sure of that, sometimes the changes are evident and sometimes they are not. In my last exhibition at the gallery of Havana’s Centro Hispanoamericano, entitled Cuerpos, the works were mostly treated monochromatically, excluding any reference to flora and fauna. They are bodies with abstract suggestions, quite the opposite of my previous exhibitions, where women and men are conjugated with flora and fauna, that is, fruit, birds, horses and suggestive forms of nature where color invades everything and take the limelight.”
“In my latest exhibitions this year, in Merida, Mexico, I introduced new forms and technical solutions, retaking color and making formal traps, which many understand as abstract or humanized figures.”
The future is very promising for this essential exponent of Cuban art, for whom, above all, it is important to be attentive and open to new proposals.
“There are already invitations and commitments for new exhibitions, here in Cuba, Mexico, the United States and Prague. They will become a reality depending on global conditions, as changeable these days as the weather.
For the time being, my project is the same as always, to create.”
Also outstanding in engraving, drawing and ceramics; professor and advisor of study programs, among his diverse occupations, the master advises new generations of visual artists, who explore painting and combine various specialties as well, to lead a healthy life that allows them to work successfully.
In his long career, Ernesto García Peña is not only a creator who has developed his extensive work within the visual arts, he is also a painter who captures a good dose of poetry in his works.