Carlos Gamez de Francisco

I was born in post-revolutionary Cuba in 1987 and educated in an academic style heavily influenced by the Russian Academy. This frame of reference is evident in all of my work. To deny my experiences, perceptions and the influence of history would be ignoring my own existence. These influences are the lens through which I create and the motivation that propels me.

As a Cuban, history has influenced me in a variety of ways. On the one hand, it allows me to rethink the way storytelling is part of our memories. On the other, it allows me to question the accuracy of history and its telling. This conflict absorbed me during my early years and continues to engage me as I complete my artistic education. Currently, this near obsession with the past translates into figures, scenarios, and most importantly, the creation of my own stories.

In Cuba, I was exposed to the influence of the figurative arts by the presence of the Russian Academy. This presence, as well as the censorship of contemporary art and the limited access to information, was the accepted dogma. Consequently, I understood that de-contextualizing epochs and artistic symbols was the tool I could use to establish a connection between the present and the past. The resulting work provides an escape from reality and creates an illusory world. I am more interested in altering history than depicting it accurately.

Taking reference from the core values of the Enlightenment, I believe in the use of reason as it alludes to the themes of power and hierarchy. This notion is reinforced by the recurrent use of portraiture and/or the use of round shapes to signify balance and purity. Now I focus on finding a provocative way to approach the established norms of perfection and beauty. I use these techniques and ideas to support the visual discourse but not as the most outstanding element of my work. This concept of revisiting and manipulating history explores the elements of repetition, excessive decoration and obscene abundance.

These images presented here refer to an apparent sense of happiness and well-being which in turn, insinuates a nonexistent time. Thus, themes and specific figures are examples of distorted reality illustrating my perceptions about life. I focus on modifying historical periods, fashion, images and contexts using insects, whether realistically represented or not, as imaginary elements recreating new contexts. Mainly, I recreate my experiences and memories by superimposing and manipulating historical figures and events.

Finally, understanding beauty in its various forms is the motivation for experimenting with non-conventional materials. My general approach is to demystify classical beauty and present it as a natural process and in its natural form.

EDUCATION
2016     School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Distinguished Scholarship.
2006     Jose Marti Fine Arts School. Holguin, Cuba
2004     Raul Gomez Garcia Fine Arts School. Holguin, Cuba.

Independent study with Cuban artists Miguel Angel Salvo, Cosme Proenza, and Harry Ruiz.

COLLECTIONS
Evansville Museum, Evansville, IN
21C Museum, Louisville, KY
Fashion Resource Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Cuba Ocho Museum & Performing Art Center, Miami, FL
Polanco’s Collection, Havana, Cuba
Louisville’s Metro Hall, Louisville, KY
Muhammad Ali Museum, Louisville, KY
Kentucky International Convention Center, Louisville, KY

Gamez de Francisco´s works are also in private collections in the United States, Spain, Luxembourg, Ecuador, Italy, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

PUBLIC PROJECTS
2019 Mural commissioned by Origin Lexington Hotel, Lexington, KY
2017 Mural commissioned by Google and LVA, Louisville, KY

OTHERS
2012 La Boca del Lobo International Film Festival, Madrid, Spain
2010 “3Rd Annual KY Short Film & Video Showcase”. 21C Museum, Louisville, KY
2007 VII National Festival of Audiovisual “By First Time”, Holguin, Cuba

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