Antonio Alvarez

A painter paints in spite of himself, out of necessity for his spirit to survive gracefully and without regrets. There is not a worse painting than the one that was thought of but never executed.

When I arrived in the USA (a very young man, then) I had been practicing both Literature and Painting with promising results and with acceptance from my peers. Once that English was not my “mother” language, writing was left unattended, and Painting took prevalence, as Visual Arts have their own, non-verbal, means of communication.

In the years that ensued, I nevertheless took matters in my own hands: obtained a BA in Hunter College in Spanish Literature, while employed successfully by a restoration and conservation firm in NYC. This position exposed me- hands “on” – to art masterworks from all periods, especially to American Art. Eventually I opened my own conservation studio, specializing in art works on paper. Glad to say, my studio is still thriving and has achieved national prominence.

I returned to painting, as a creator, a few years back. Motivated by the need to find if my works could be defined as “Cuban Painting” (think Wifredo Lam, Amelia Pelaez, Servando Cabrera, Portocarrero, etc.) or if, after all these years, I had become an “American” painter. I found out that I have turned into a “New York School” abstract expressionist painter, with an “Spanish” use of dark pigments….all mixed within a lot of passionate gestures.

I paint with acrylics, once they dry very quickly. At my age, there is not time to wait for the oil colors to dry. I was fortunate to have met Antoni Tapies (as I was restoring one of his paintings) and during our several meetings had an opportunity to talk about painting. I was an admirer of his works, which belong to the “Matteristic School” of painting. This is the aspect that I am now exploring with my works: pigments “manipulated” by the artist while one half-to-a-third of the painting’s surface is left for the matter (in this case acrylic pigments) to behave as their nature require. The results are splendidly beautiful and surprising, and I cannot get enough of it.

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