|Arnaldo Roche, images from a legendary painting|
||"Image as the last of the possible stories…" José Lezama Lima|
Bernice Steinbaum Gallery presents new works by Puerto Rican master Arnaldo Roche. "Roche's approach to identity is full of that creative spirit which the original meaning of the word 'poet' evokes," states essayist Ricardo Pau Llosa regarding the artist's ability to conceive that secret, seductive level of ambiguity in his paintings. Borrowing its essence from metaphor or allegory, Roche's work grows into a ceremonial scenario where both humans and natural forces concur. Identity exists as a unique way of representing history- an atypical body of leaves, faces, figures in blue, a mixture of primitive and modern cultures all working in concert to discover the artist's true inner self.
Arnaldo Roche designs inspiring places, sacred objects, and magical situations that help him find the most effective pathway toward conquering the soul. These visual strategies emphasize the psychological features in his works, the artist offers pictures with his own persona -and his surroundings- to public scrutiny. His painting transcends the limits of simple technique, practice or procedure, becoming the ideal source in which spiritual environments and characters can develop. With expertise, Roche manipulates the intense energy emanating from religious symbols and the profane world. Water, earth and fire connect with fiction and reality, the abstract and the figurative, the end and the beginning finally creating the sum of his universe.
"I choose not to speak of metaphor as a 'leap' but rather as a bridge enabling passage from one world to another (…),"says critic Richard Shiff, highlighting the significant linkage between art and life. Vulnerable, transitional images expand all over Roche's canvases; images connecting people of diverse races, people with dissimilar backgrounds and ways of life. Everyday images convey emotions and reveal our ancestry. Light configures unforeseen contours that resemble the imminence of solitude, of freedom, unwanted inheritances, departures, separations, expectations, un-comfortable zones, heavens and lies. Arnaldo Roche draws from the power of the subconscious that allows him to reveal collective memory, private obsessions and common phobias, issues that affect not only him but also each of us.