SAINT-PAUL DE VENCE, FRANCE— De Buck Gallery is pleased to announce Belleza Común (Beauté Commune), a solo show featuring a selection of new paintings by Raelis Vasquez. Belleza Común (Beauté Commune) will be on view, by appointment, at De Buck Gallery Saint-Paul de Vence from March 6th to May 9th, 2021 as well as in De Buck’s online viewing room, as part of the gallery’s digital programming. Belleza Común (Beauté Commune) features six new paintings by Raelis Vasquez that examine the artist’s family memories as well as his own Afro-Latinx identity.
Vasquez created this new body of work at the end of 2020, with an inventive combination of oil, acrylic, and oil pastels. The paintings address his subjects with a tenderness and intimacy that draws the viewers warmly into narratives of Vasquez’s home country, the Dominican Republic. He chose quiet moments, brought alive through a vibrant color palette and energetic painterly mark-making. The works are gentle homages to his family, his community, and the collected memories of his maternal grandmother. The works also explore concepts of softness and honesty, as Vasquez chose touching reference photographs that he interprets with both dignity and vulnerability.
Vasquez, who turned to art at eight years old, draws a direct link between his experiences of being an immigrant to his art-making and storytelling. In his words, he “captures the essence of common human experience and frames it within the beauty of his subjects.” Ultimately, Vasquez’s subject matter is intertwined with his own story. The works then become not just a tribute to the people in his life, but also a practice of self-reflection, a thoughtful exploration of his own identity as an immigrant, a Dominican, and a painter, an identity as layered and complex as the many snapshots he paints from.
Raelis Vasquez’s paintings function as platforms for engaging in conversations, coalescing personal and political themes regarding his experience as an Afro-Latino artist in the United States. Vasquez’s devotion to representation as a means of inclusion and presence explores the Dominican Republic’s convoluted histories in relation to the United States. In his formative years, Vasquez confronted the lack of accurate representations of his Afro-Latino identity through the mediums of drawing and painting. This journey has allowed him to unveil historical silences of family and societal life while addressing the traumatic and disruptive experience of immigration.
Raelis Vasquez is a visual artist based in New York and New Jersey who has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and abroad. His work is held in a number of permanent collections including the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California. In 2021, his work will be exhibited at El Museo del Barrio in New York as a part of Estamos Bien: La Trienal. Vasquez holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently pursuing his MFA at Columbia University in New York.
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