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University Library DePaul Library

About the Artists

José Bedia

"An acclaimed member of Cuba’s “Generation of the ‘80s,” José Bedia is one of the most intriguing and prolific transnational artists working in the United States, his home since 1993. Early in his career he began to immerse himself in the aesthetic and religious worlds of Africa and the Americas, which would come to form the foundation of his art. A Hispanic-Cuban, his first “border-crossing” occurred within his homeland in the early 1980s. It was then that he became an initiated practitioner of the Cuban religion known as Palo Monte, which has its origins in Central Africa." Excerpt from Exhibition Introduction, --Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia Selected Works for Teaching

José Bernal

"Bernal was a Cuban-American artist, born in Santa Clara, Cuba, in the former province of Las Villas (now Villa Clara) and became a naturalized U.S.A. citizen in 1980.

Bernal's aesthetics stemmed from his Cuban birth and the experience of exile and renewal. His art has been described as modernist, abstract, and expressionist. The term postmodernist also may be applied to Bernal's diverse and complex body of work, specifically as he rejected the notion of the new in art, a characteristic imbued in postmodern theory." --José Bernal, Wikipedia

Hector Duarte

"Hector Duarte was born in 1952 in Caurio, Michoacan, Mexico. He studied mural painting at the workshop of David Alfaro Siqueiros in 1977. Since moving to Chicago in 1985, Duarte has participated in the creation of more than 50 murals.He has exhibited his paintings and prints in solo and collective shows at such venues as the National Museum of Mexican Art, the School of the Art Institute, the State of Illinois Gallery, the Chicago Historical Society, and Casa Estudio Museo Diego Rivera in Mexico.
Duarte has received a number of awards, including a 2008 Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council, 2005 and 2007 Artistic Production Awards from the Secretary of Culture of the state of Michoacán, a 1995 Chicago Bar Association Award for best work of public art and a 1994 National Endowment for the Arts project grant. In 2006 he participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as an invited muralist.
Duarte is the co-founder of the Julio Ruelas Print Workshop in Zacatecas, Mexico, La Casa de la Cultura in Zamora, Mexico, and the Mexican Printmaking Workshop in Chicago.

Felipe Ehrenberg

"Felipe Ehrenberg (b. Mexico City, June 27, 1943) is a Mexican painter, printmaker, performance artist, writer, teacher, and publisher. He qualified as a printmaker at a very early age, then as a painter and engraver under the tutelage of several masters, among whom the most influential in his life was José Chávez Morado. Although he at first worked with traditional media, he possessed a constantly innovative and critical attitude and experimented with performances, installations, happenings, correspondence, and media art, as well as writing, lecturing, and publishing on such themes as artistic experimentation, cultural promotion, professional management for artists, collective mural painting, and the publishing process. From 1968 to 1972 Ehrenberg lived in England, where, with the architect Martha Hellion and the critic and historian David Mayor, he founded the Beau Geste Press/Libro Acción Libre in Devon to propagate the work of artists involved with the Fluxus movement of the 1970s. He was also instrumental in the rise of many artistic groups, workshops, and small publishing houses, such as Grupo H2O/Talleres de Comunicación, in which tutors gave workshops on editorial work and collective mural painting. He was involved in numerous collective mural projects in Mexico."

Nereida Garcia Ferraz

"Nereida Garcia Ferraz is a painter, photographer and video maker who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received the following grants: Ryerson Traveling Fellowship National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1985 and in 1998, The Ford Foundation  grant in 1994.  Illinois Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship in 1985, 1986, 1989 Mac Arthur Foundation Media Grant in 1994 as well as The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching  Fellowship from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 – 2001.

She has taught at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago,  The San Francisco Art Institute, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has also been a resident/visiting artist in many Art Schools and Museums. She currently works at MOCA’s Women on the Rise Program and Miami Art Museum’s Brick X Brick Education Program, working with youth on issues of Urban Design and Architecture, also at the Idea Lab at  BASS Art Museum in Miami. Founded The Photography Program at MACLA, San Jose California in 1998. Her works have been exhibited in numerous Museums and Galleries around the US and abroad." --

José Guerrero

"José Guerrero was born on October 29, 1914, in Granada, Spain. From 1930 to 1934 he attended art classes at the Escuela de artes y oficios in Granada, and in 1940, following his friend Federico García Lorca’s advice, he moved to Madrid, where he continued his studies at the Escuela superior de bellas artes de San Fernando (now Real academia de bellas artes de San Fernando). On completing art school in 1945, Guerrero received a grant from the French government to study fresco painting for one year at the École des beaux-arts, Paris, where he experienced firsthand the works of Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, and became particularly interested in those of Henri Matisse. The landscapes and rural scenes Guerrero painted on his return to Spain reflect Matisse’s profound influence on his work.

Starting in 1946 Guerrero embraced the life of a wanderer and spent several years traveling across Europe, staying in Bern, Brussels, London, Paris, and Rome. In Rome he befriended Afro (Afro Balsadella) and his brother Mirko (Mirko Balsadella), and he met Roxanne Whittier Pollock, the American journalist he would marry in 1949. This same year, the couple moved to the United States, staying in Philadelphia first and settling in New York a year later.

This move opened a new course in the artist’s work. Guerrero painted his last figurative work, a self-portrait, in 1950. Thereafter, galvanized by Abstract Expressionism, he abandoned his figurative style for abstraction. Characteristic of this new phase, simplified, biomorphic forms float in a quasi-monochromatic background. By the mid-1950s Guerrero’s style had become more gestural, expressing a deeper sense of urgency, as he loosened his brushstroke and introduced a controlled dripping technique. A selection of these new paintings appeared in an exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, in 1954, marking Guerrero’s emergence as a distinctive painter within the New York school. Since moving to New York, Guerrero had become acquainted with some of the most prominent members of the American avant-garde including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Theodoros Stamos. Concurrently he met James Johnson Sweeney, critic and director of the Guggenheim Museum, who included his work in Younger American Painters: A Selection (1954).

In 1965 Guerrero returned to Spain and from then on divided his time between his native country and the United States. Coinciding with Guerrero’s return to Spain is the reintegration of purer colors in his works, distant from the anxiety-ridden, predominantly black paintings of the late 1950s. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Guerrero’s abstract style continued to evolve, as he created orderly and rhythmic vertical compositions, followed by increasingly dynamic works in which brilliant hues took the lead."  --Guggenheim Museum 

Luis Jiménez

"Luis Jiménez studied architecture and art at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his B.F.A. degree in 1964. Following a brief stay in Mexico and six years in New York, he returned to the Southwest in the early 1970s. He now divides his time between El Paso, Texas, and Hondo, New Mexico.

Although Jiménez is primarily a sculptor, he is also accomplished at color lithographs and colored-pencil drawings. He executes preparatory drawings to work out the conceptual and and formal configurations of his sculptures, which are made of fiberglass cast in a mold, then painted and coated with epoxy. His New York sculptures, such as Man on Fire, [SAAM, 1979.124] involve themes of political and social satire, while those made after his return to the Southwest focus on that region's Mexican and Anglo-American communities.

Man on Fire, a larger than life-size sculpture, was inspired by Jose Clemente Orozco's 1938–39 dome painting in the Cabanas Orphanage in Guadalajara, Mexico. The work, which evokes the story of Cuauhtemoc, the legendary Aztec warrior who was tortured to death with fire by the Spaniards soon after the Conquest of Mexico in 1521, also reflects Luis Jiménez's keen awareness of Vietnamese monks who practiced self-immolation as a protest against the war in the 1960s.

Jiménez combines size, color, and pose to create a dramatic and heroic effect in this impressive work. The flaming figure strikes a triumphant stance with legs spread apart. The flames swirl up from a container placed between the figure's legs, moving up the right side of the torso across the back, around the head, and finally over the entire surface of the extended left arm." --Hispanic-American Art (brochure, Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art)

Maria Martínez-Cañas

"Born Havana, Cuba, 1960

María Martínez-Cañas seems to have been born with a camera: at eight years old she was working with a Polaroid Swinger and then a Twin-Lens Rolleiflex that her mother brought from Cuba. Martínez-Cañas was raised in Puerto Rico, where her love of photography and art has culminated in awards and exhibitions. As an undergraduate at the Philadelphia College of Art and in graduate school at the Art Institute of Chicago, Martínez-Cañas embraced experimental photography, pushing beyond the documentary use of the medium to a poetic territory that combines drawing, collage, and photomontage. Maps, family photographs, and art historical images recur in her work as visual markers documenting and reinventing the past." --National Portrait Gallery

Nicolás de Jesús

"Born on December 6, 1960 in the  Nahua region of Guerrero, MéxicoNicolás developed his art through his parents and his community of Ameyaltepec. There painting on bark paper is the preferred medium of expression of local traditions. His work reflects the spectrum of his experiences from his origins in a traditional Mexican Village to the complex problems of Mexican immigrants in the United States and his concern for preserving his cultural identity."

"Nicolas de Jesus (born December 6, 1960) is a Mexican artist from the Nahua region of Guerrero, Mexico. His work carries themes of Mexican rural life as well as politics and world events. The celebration Dia de los Muertos is a common subject in his art.

Nicolás de Jesús developed his art through his parents and his community of Ameyaltepec. There painting on bark paper is the preferred medium of expression of local traditions. His work reflects the spectrum of his experiences from his origins in a traditional Mexican Village to the complex problems of Mexican immigrants in the United States and his concern for preserving his cultural identity. By the time the art activist Felipe Ehrenberg started to teach Nicolás etching and other printing techniques, the young artist had already adopted the traditional amatecomposition with many whimsical and detailed characters and a great empty space atop the page to suggest a great distance. The reoccurring theme in Amayaltepec amates is everyday village life—its celebrations and beliefs. After moving to Chicago in the 1980s, de Jesús additionally started to depict urban life in U.S. barrios in the same manner." --Wikipedia

Antonio Martorell

"Printmaker, painter, draftsman, installation artist, stage and costume designer, writer, illustrator, and teacher. Martorell is one of the most prolific Puerto Rican artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and a direct heir of the graphic tradition initiated by the masters of the island’s “Fifties Generation.” After studying diplomacy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he changed professional course. In 1961, with a scholarship from the Ferré Foundation, he studied painting and drawing under Julio Martín Caro in Madrid. On his return to Puerto Rico he began his printmaking apprenticeship under the direction of Lorenzo Homar at the Graphic Arts Workshop of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. In 1968 he established the Alacrán Studio, one of Puerto Rico’s first independent print studios. Martorell has taught printmaking in Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, and in his passion for human and artistic expression (which he sees as one) he has created, organized, and sponsored countless artistic, community, and multi-media events. Martorell’s prints and paintings communicate his freedom and exceptional creative talent. He is recognized for figurative compositions that show his commitment to portraiture, the written word, theater, playfulness in all aspects of his creative life, and his incorporation of the sensory and the sensual into all his projects." --Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Angel Otero

"Angel Otero (b. 1981, Santurce, Puerto Rico) is a visual artist best known for his process-based paintings. While much of his works have been influenced by memories based in photographs and other family memorabilia combined with the gestures of 20th century painting, his latest works highlight the artist's unique process as a form of narrative in itself. Through his innovative process of oil paint scraping, Otero venerates historical oil painting while confronting it head on. Otero's 'deformation' approach to painting his works, first across glass and then once dry, flaying the dried paint and reconstructing the composition anew across large canvasses, is representative of how the artist perceives the process of reconfiguring both personal and historical narratives. Otero’s work sometimes uses process as a way of confronting deep, personal memories. Instead of representing his life through art, he archives moments within it by creating opportunities of surprise and discovery. His work is a constant negotiation between the individual and art history. "   Excerpt from Lehmann Maupin

Bibiana Suárez

"Bibiana Suárez is currently a Professor of Art in the Department of Art, Media and Design at DePaul University (Chicago). Suárez was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but has resided in Chicago since 1980. She has a BFA (1984) and an MFA (1989) in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Suárez has exhibited extensively in the United States as well as in Puerto Rico and Mexico. Her solo exhibitions include Memoria (Memory) at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2011-2012); Domino/Dominó at El Museo del Barrio (1998) in New York and the Illinois Arts Gallery (1999) in Chicago; De Pico a Pico (Beak to Beak - Face to Face) at Sazama Gallery, Chicago (1993); Island Adrift: The Puerto Rican Identity in Exile at Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia (1993); In Search of an Island also at Sazama Gallery (1991) and A Grafito at the Art Students league in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1985). 

Among her group exhibitions are: 1898: DIWA Arts, Rene J. Marquez, Maria Martinez-Cañas and Bibiana Suárez at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1998) and Puerto Rican Equation at Hunter College (1998) in New York; Second Sight: Printmaking in Chicago, 1935-1995 at the Mary Leigh Block Gallery of Northwestern University in Chicago (1996): National Drawing Invitational, The Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock (1992); In the Heart of the Country/ En el corazón del país, The Chicago Cultural Center (1991); Adivina! Chicago Latino Expressions at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in Chapultepec, Mexico City (1998) and Expresiones Hispanas a two-year traveling exhibition (1988-89) that begun at the Mexican Cultural Institute in San Antonio.

Suárez has also been the recipient of several awards including three Illinois Arts Council Individual Visual Artist Fellowship Awards (1991, 1994, 1999), an Arts Midwest/NEA Regional Visual Arts Fellowship (1992) and was the inaugural recipient of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture’s (University of Chicago) Artist in Residence Fellowship in 2003-2004. Most recently, Suárez was a faculty fellow at the Center for Latino Research (DePaul University) in autumn 2011."