El Combate No. 2, 1996
oil on canvas
38 x 49 3/4 inches
Humberto Castro was born in Havana, Cuba in 1957. He is a graduate of the San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts and the Higher Institute of Art in Havana. Castro achieved notoriety in 1980's together with a handful of avant-garde young artists (among them, Elso Padilla, José Bedia and Tomás Sánchez), Castro began challenging preconceived notions and political dogma. Their eclectic art was edgy and often controversial. The Generation of 80s, as they were collectively known, assimilated and adapted ideas from such diverse sources as Photo-Realism and Afro-Cuban rites. As further proof of their independent ways and original talent, each of the members of this pioneering group developed separate and distinctive styles.
Castro’s oeuvre combines mythical and actual events. This thematic fusion imbues the work with an alluring, visionary quality. His compositions, no matter how grim the subject matter, display an innate elegance, making them palatable and even lyrical at times. Castro is a master at capturing metamorphosis. His svelte figures seem to endlessly evolve from ethereal beings to earthlings. Castro’s stirring palette and sensuous textures further enhance his bewitching designs.
MOA Curator Jorge Santis says contemporary issues of censorship and exile are subtly yet insightfully communicated in many of these allegorical canvases. During the last two decades, Castro held triumphant solo exhibitions in Berlin, Paris, Mexico City, and Caracas.