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Images of Heresy

In the Villa Manuela gallery, the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), ended on Friday 11 June, its exhibition Images of Heresy. The exhibition featured works from Noel Morera and Cellez Elvis Cruz and Gonzalez, two artists who differ and agree on some elements from conceptual and expressive points of view, despite generational and geographic distance that separates them: the first is, producing in El Vedado, and the second at the western end of the island.

Curated by David Mateo, director of Villa Manuela, the exhibition featured 16 pieces in acrylic on canvas, 8 from each craftsman, almost all of similar format and with a certain empathy for the predominance in the allegorical treatment of the human figure and in particular the sexual theme, marked by an allusive and perceptive homo-eroticism.

More than provocative heresies we are looking at appreciations that pass through technique, color and concepts from which emerge spontaneity, distance and chance.

Elvis Cellez (Minas de Matahambre, Pinar del Rio, 1972), shows  official and original works such It’s Still Raining (2007), Loving and Hating (2008) and Facing the Mirror (2010), in which color and the indoor atmosphere emphasize the uncertainty and loneliness of the transvestite, of a young boy naked or the young girl posing with her back next to her bedroom mirror. In the remaining parts the visual message is less palpable.

Noel Morera (Matanzas, 1962), surprised the audience with the freedom and looseness of his paintings, more dark and aggressive. The erotic reveals the essential concern of transcultured Adam and Eve, Eva andGuillermo, and Unmarried Couple.  The first recreates the biblical myth from the perspective of Almodovar of the hermaphrodite as possible origin. The last, less allegorical and more contemporary, is notable for its freedom and harmony of color.

Harmony and composition certify the quality and delight the spectators, caught between aesthetic pleasure and uneasiness. In both creators the center of the image is focused on the left or balanced from the media, without frills or decorative lines.

Morera Cruz studied at the Academia de San Alejandro and the silkscreen workshop “René Portocarrero. He is a member of UNEAC and the Graphic Arts Workshop in Havana. Since 1988 he has held  solo exhibitions in galleries and hotels in Havana, Madrid, Valencia and Istanbul. He works in jewelry and movie posters. His pieces appear in exhibitions in Barcelona, Florence, Ibiza, Mexico, Miami, Toronto, New York, Valencia Varadero and Havana. In 1998 won first place in the Mural Contest CIMEX Building, and in 2002 received the First Prize of the City, both in Havana.

Cellez Gonzalez is a graduate of the Professional School of Plastic Arts of Pinar del Rio and member of UNEAC. Since 1992 he has participated in solo and group exhibitions in cultural centers, museums and galleries in Pinar del Rio, Havana, Holguin and Camaguey. Several of his pieces featured in contemporary art shows in San Jose (Costa Rica), Arizona (USA) and Toronto (Canada). He has received numerous provincial, and national awards, among them that of UNEAC, the Fund of Cultural Assets of Cuba, Cubaneo given by the painter Pedro Pablo Oliva and the Association of Artists and Craftsmen (AACA).

The heretical paintings by Noel Morera and Elvis Cellez Villa Manuela in the island’s summer heat, encourage us to follow these artists. History, color and harmony mask tensions and enliven our imagination.

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