By: Lynette M.F.Bosch
Catalogue Text Elite Fine Art Gallery, November 1999

 

In Dreams, there are moments of realization, when the seemingly plausible realities of the events we dream are suddenly metamorphosed into evidently improbable situations. It is these moments of transition that shake us from our complacent experience of dreaming into a recognition that we are indeed in a dreaming state. Frequently, our consciousness is altered because the dream’s visual panorama draws our attention to a detail that acts as a catalyst for our cognizance. Perhaps, our awareness shifts because we see a row of trees growing from a bank of clouds,or because we see a herd of horses galloping soundlessly across a supernaturally beautiful beach. Such combinations of the sublime and the impossible define the visual territory chronicled by Luis Vega’s supramundane landscapes.

Vega’s landscapes transport us to his native island, Cuba, through his personal evocation of an edenic world populated by the lush vegetation and plentiful wildlife of a tropical paradise. Vega paints Cuba in prismatic hues that glow with a clarity and purity that transcends earthly color. Thus, Vega’s Cuba is transformed into a island of timeless splendor where temporality is denied by the unblemished vistas of a heavenly world to which we can only aspire. This celestial geography brought down to earth affects the spectator by instilling a profound desire for reconnection with their place of origin.

For Vega, and for all exiled Cubans, it is the island of their birth that they seek to regain. But, Vega’s paintings, while remaining specifically about Cuba, succeed on a universal level because they function as compelling passports to a landscape that promises transcendental peace.

In Vega’s metaphysical environments, the existence of humanity is alluded to by the occasional inclusion, in an otherwise depopulated scene, of an empty bench or boat. The intrusion of these manufactured objects into the pristine geography they displace endows them with an intentionally surreal quality. Vega consciously manipulates surrealistic imagery and a hyper-realistic style to create the other worldly effects that characterize his pictorial vocabulary.

Thus, Vega’s paintings enter into a continuing dialogue with artistic traditions exemplified in the work of Rene Magritte’s surrealistic images, Albert Bierstadt’s use of naturalism and in the quixotic compositions of Henri Rousseau. Because Vega partially contextualizes his work within the ideological framework provided by Surrealism’s origins, he subliminally utilizes the mythological archetypes of Freudian and Jungian psychology. Hence, Vega’s paintings should be situated within the oneiric universe thus created, wherein symbolic forms, such as boats, heavenly rays of light and palm trees, give expression to the desires¬†of the collective subconscious. Such elements appear in Ascension, where the royal palms (symbolic of Cuba) elevate from the landscape as though they were consciously seeking escape and freedom. By linking his minute and technically detailed exploration of the surface of reality to the spiritual vision that inspires his work, Vega exploits hyper-realism’s properties as he translates his microcosmic exploration of reality into a macrocosmic view of spiritual dimensions.

For the spectator who becomes immersed in these supernal visions, Vega’s paintings become expressions of the longing we all have for the place we know to be our true home.

Lynette M.F. Bosch, Ph.D.
S.U.N.Y., Geneseo