Friday, November 18, 2011

Remembering Ramón Frade & his drawings

The exhibition Entre líneas: Frade y el dibujo contemporáneo (Between Lines: Frade and Contemporary drawing) at the Art Museum Dr. Pío López Martínez of the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey opened at the beginning 2011. 35 contemporary artists participate in this exhibition in homage to the Puerto Rican artist Ramón Frade and the creative process of drawing. Among these artists I’m participating with two of my drawings on paper: “Io Saturnalia” and “Arcadia”, both done in 2010.

Io Saturnalia (2010) pencil and ink on paper 12" x 8"

Last year while in Puerto Rico I had the opportunity to visit the museum and view some of the work of Frade I hadn’t seen before, like photographs, drawings and other studies this master painter executed for his paintings.  I consider it important to mention that Frade is not only considered one of the most important Puerto Rican painters of the past century but that he was also an exceptional draughtsman, architect and photographer. The experience was quite refreshing. In my opinion, the traditional practice with the painter’s trade of preparing preliminary sketches, taking photographs and drawing has been forgotten by many in the contemporary “mcculture” driven by immediate consumption of technically undernourished products with lack of content. In the exhibition Entre Líneas: Frade y el dibujo contemporáneo, the importance, soundness and validity of drawing as part of the visual repertoire and practice of the contemporary artist is quite evident.

Drawing, preliminary study and photograph by Frade

Frade's Study for El pan nuestro  (Our Daily Bread) 1905

During my visit I had a chance to meet with the curator of this exhibition
Mariel Quiñones Vélez. Mariel very attentively guided me though the museum and talked about the collection. I remember we talked about the importance of the process in art and preparing sketches for a work of art. It is one big important part that is missed by most people who visit a museum and see the works of great masters.  And it is precisely this vital part of the work of the artist that this museum does great justice by showing us drawings, preliminary studies, photographic material, documents and even the painter’s own palette, elements that are so revealing of Frade and his work.

Photo of the Puerto Rican painter Ramón Frade

Furniture, easel, painting palette and other objects from Frade's studio

Me with Mariel Quiñones Vélez, the curator at the museum

To end the exhibition Entre Líneas: Frade y el dibujo contemporáneo, the museum invites us to mingle with the participating artists on December 4th of 2011 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  for reasons that are beyond me I will not be able to be there with all of you but I encourage you to visit the museum, see the works and meet these contemporary  Puerto Rican artists in a dialogue with the work of Ramón  Frade.  The exhibition will be held until January 10th 2012. During the holiday season the museum will be open to the public the following days from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.: December 27th to the 30th & January 2nd to the 4th & the 7th & 8th of 2012. Starting from January 9th the Museum will be open with its regular schedule.  For more information you can call 787-738-0650 or senda n e-mail at