Untitled, 2019, from the series "Krome Avenue." Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
By Dr. Liliam Dominguez
We all use language with which we can tell our own stories. Some stories are better said in words, while others are better expressed in visual elements. In the case of Andres Cabrera, the medium of paint offers the artist the physicality to freely wrestle – or dance – with his inner reality forged onto the format of choice.
Cabrera is a painter of feelings. His craft comes from years of experiential learning in a formal setting as well as on his own. The years he spent learning in Cuba were enjoyed the most when he was working at “plein air.” However, the “contemporary” scene of the time, the zeitgeist of art school, did not allow the artist to fully explore landscape as a genre. Instead, he used this time to learn the different techniques within the discipline of art, the medium of painting, and specifically, to add to his skills repertoire the creation of monotypes, which allowed the expressive nature of his drawing to flourish. All the while, just as soil sediments in layers and creates new life with time, his learning was paving the path for the skillful observer and interpreter of color and light he has become today.
As Arnheim(1) once posed, the entropic nature of art offers an intimate view of an artist’s gaze. Among the efforts to add the necessary nuances to relate oneself to a painter’s story is the appreciative fact that a painter chooses materials and images as carefully as an author can choose words or any literary resource. Subtleness in a plane of color, boldness of a rough brush stroke, and other tricks pulled from under the metaphorical sleeve of years of trial and error, experimenting in the studio, bring to the surface a harmonious and “exceptionally told” story, a story that conveys its multi-meaning message with a few articulate strokes and marks. Such is the case of Cabrera’s story told through the series “Krome Avenue." In it, Cabrera’s observations are elevated to an emotional, interpretive level. He reinvents the landscapes he has at hand, the ones he observes while taking a common drive to commute to either a workplace, or to pick up his son on weekends. The repetitive nature of this activity is reflected in the painstakingly exact depiction of light and color present in his work.
These journeys driving through Krome Avenue served as a recording device for Cabrera. He did not take notes, photos, or sketches. He simply memorized how the landscape was changing, and rapidly synthetized this information into an amalgam of elements and colors with which he readily composed a plot for us, viewers. He wants us to feel the same feeling of both, loss and the sublime as we remain engaged with his work.
(1) Arnheim, R. (1974). Entropy and art: An essay on disorder and order. Univ of California Press.