Born in 1944 in Havana, Cuba, Julio Larraz is considered as one of the most versatile painters on the international scene. Both an illustrator and caricaturist, by the early nineteen-seventies his works, which portray a world full of sensations and atmosphere, had drawn the attention of critics. Narrative, yet never literary, Larraz draws on reality transforming it into symbolic images that are not always immediately decipherable, whilst his pleasant drawings are highly appreciated by the public.
Although Julio Larraz adores taking risks and rarely repeats the same themes or characters, he does seem to proceed in visual and conceptual cycles in which he addresses his favorite topics: from allegories of power to feminine beauty; from languid and persuasive eroticism to cinematic references; from politics to humor; from portraits to the domination of the seas (a dominant theme set in a pictorial archipelago of a thousand islands that describe travels and homecomings, farewells and reunions). He is an artist with a romantic taste whose autobiographical elements meet his ambition to communicate in a universal language. This solo exhibition of works by Julio Larraz, held in the Puglisi Cosentino Foundation, Catania, has been promoted and curated by the Foundation Roma-Mediterraneo and organized by Civita Sicilia in association with the Contini Gallery of Art (Venice and Cortina d'Ampezzo).
Approximately 100 works by this master will be shown in a chronological itinerary which, starting from 1975 with paintings such as "The Giant" and "Finisterre", follows his artistic career through the nineteen eighties ("El padre de la Patria Nueva", "Cushing Maine"), the nineteen nineties ("Hunter in the Snow") up to recent times with a series of paintings produced exclusively for this event that have never been exhibited before ("Grandpa", "I Could Have Been a Contender", "Landing Party" and "A Rendezvous with Homer"). The exhibition is inspired by the idea that painting is a visual narrative linked both to oral traditions and literature. Travelling through Larraz's works, visitors realize that the artist does not believe in the theory of evolution and that at some later time he often decides to feature subjects addressed before, though he changes their expression which at times become more acute and ironic and at others more nostalgic and dramatic. The bronze sculpture should not be overlooked. The artist ‘discovered’ this medium in 2007 and has continued to use it.
The Chairman of the Fondazione Roma-Mediterraneo, Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele explains that, "We chose to present the Cuban artist, Julio Larraz, in Catania since his works - that are realistic at times and more dreamlike at others - demonstrate his bond with the sea which, in this case is the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, rather than the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, it is a vast expanse of water that inspires voyages and a passage towards the unknown, the mystery of immensity and obscurity and imagination" An islander like myself, Julio Larraz began his career in the mid-nineteen sixties, drawing caricatures of politicians for leading newspapers in the United States until he became a full time painter at the end of the decade. His art therefore combines a very topical sacrilegious tendency towards temporal power with his inborn romantic taste and slightly old-fashioned representations of reality and fantasy, landscapes and dreams. His works have a clean stroke and are caressed by colors which, in my opinion, immediately appeal to the public". Julio Larraz currently lives in Miami, Florida (USA). He is represented in Europe by the Contini Gallery of Art. The anthology held in the Complesso Monumentale del Vittoriano, Rome, in 2012 is amongst his most recent exhibitions.
The exhibition catalogue has been published by Peruzzo Editore and contains an introductory essay by the art critic Luca Beatrice.
Tuesday - Sunday
From 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 8pm
- Julio Larraz, 2007, His Last Dream 29 July, olio su tela 183x183cm
- Julio Larraz, 2012, Concepto Espacial, oil on canvas, 182x152cm
- Julio Larraz, 2011, The Artist and his Model, 152 x 198cm