Visual Arts

Artime celebrates 50-year career

Carlos Artime poses next to his paintings in an exhibition celebrating his 50 years as an artist.
Carlos Artime poses next to his paintings in an exhibition celebrating his 50 years as an artist. EL Nuevo Herald

“Carlos Artime Throughout Time” is a sample and revision of the artistic works of the Cuban mixed-media artist, who with this soon-to-close exhibition at Kendall’s Artefactus Gallery celebrates his 50-year career.

His artistic career began in 1965, in Havana’s Lyceum Lawn Tennis Club. Since then, he’s developed his craft through experimentation within the worlds of paint, ceramic, sculpture and stage design, all through the unique perspective of an architect.

The exhibit recreates Artime’s vision during the time of his adolescence, with color-charged pieces, full of expressive force and suggestive titles to match.

The artist feels that Miami, because of its physical and geographic characteristics, is the city most closely resembling his country of origin, in terms of climate, nature and color, “but with the benefits of being situated within a social system which establishes our freedom to think, make decisions, create and do what we think is right for our lives and for those that surround us to do the same,” he says.

The works of art displayed utilize different techniques and employ different themes, narrating the evolution of Artime as an artist and his varying creative interests throughout time.

“The 20-piece sample includes small and large works, including a serigraphy and a 5-piece polyptych — a frame made up of painted wood planks,” Artime says. “Most of the works of art are from 2005, two are from 2009 and the serigraphy is from 1996.”

He adds that his work as a painter has been full of accidents, effort and an endless list of circumstances that have affected his work as mixed-media artist.

“From the abstract to the figurative, what has always permeated in my work is my [training] as an architect,” he says.

In 1968, he held his first personal exhibition, “A Woman Awaits Me,” based on a Walt Whitman poem with the same title. In Cuba, he had 13 exhibitions, the last one being “Meeting With Peace” in 1990.

“Once outside of Cuba ... part of my work was executed in Puerto Rico until 2006, when I established myself in Miami,” says the painter, who now has 39 exhibitions under his belt. “Truly, I’m an architect, graduated in Havana where I worked as such until 1991. It’s from that discipline that all my artistic work has derived, always present as the conceptual base, for form, design, spacial value, without being able to separate one from the other.”

The Cuban painter and architect is also a poet. A poem from his book From Here, From There and From Thither reads: “I come from all places/and towards all places I’m headed/I’m art among the arts/in the meadows, I’m a meadow.” This book of poetry contains a series of writings used by Artimet as inspiration for several paintings, including his “A flor de piel” series.

“It’s well understood that even though it’s a different discipline, painting has a lot to do with poetry. At the same time, there are poetic images that can serve as the inspiration for mixed-media works, and I really enjoy that symbiosis,” he says.

When Artime arrived in Miami 24 years ago, his first stay was brief. He returned to Puerto Rico, where living was easier.

“In my sporadic trips to Miami, and [since] I’ve been living here for the past nine years, I’ve been able to witness its architectural, cultural and urban development,” he says. “The evidence is in the art fairs, book fairs, new museums, grand theaters, film festivals, plays, ballet, opera and series of international events that now call Miami home.”

Artime, who is on the verge of turning 75, also thinks the population increase in Miami as well as the funds brought to the city by foreign investors are contributing to Miami’s evolution as an important city.

“Painting, working in ceramics, sculpting, stage designing and architecture, it’s all a gift and privilege at my age. That’s why I can’t waste this opportunity for as long as I have it, always trying to reach for more and for the best at whatever I put my mind on,” he said, adding that he’s had the luxury of unconditional support from his family and friends.

‘Carlos Artime Throughout Time’ is at the Artefactus Gallery, 12302 SW 133 Ct., Kendall, through Sunday. Call 786-704-5715 for information.