Ramon L. Lopez Colon
My work attempts to create a visual dialogue between modernist painting aesthetics and the iconographic construction of colonialism in Puerto Rico.
As a consequence of being raised in the town of Guánica (est. 1508), the events that defined the erratic political history of Puerto Rico were vividly evoked though out my childhood by monuments and celebrations set in the bay of my seaside hometown: the incursion of Spanish Conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon in 1508, the piedra (rock) that commemorates the invasion of Puerto Rico by General Miles in 1898 and the annual protest of the Partido Nacionalista Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rico's Nationalist Party) against the US government in Puerto Rico are amongst the most remarkable memories of that time.
A strong exposure to modernist painting began during my years as a graduate student in Philadelphia. What started as a rather conflictive relationship, proved to be a wealthy source for the development of my artistic discourse.
Paintings like Le cuento una fábula a Jasper Johns (I tell a fable to Jasper Johns) propose a dialogue between the painting traditions that inform my work where formalism and narrative rely on each other for significance. This approach has produced a body of work mostly compose color fields and gesture drawing figures where family members (both dead and alive) become actors of a plot they cannot control. Paint medium of choice are oil, acrylic and latex along with charcoal. Example of this are the painting Miss Guánica 1979, 5 de enero (January 5th) and Agua con viento (Windy water).
My work has been shown at Temple Gallery (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Galería Francisco Ollero del Taller Puertorriqueño (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Museo del Arsenal de la Puntilla of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, San Juan, Puerto Rico), Museo de la Historia de Ponce (Puerto Rico), Casa Escuté (Carolina, Puerto Rico),Galería Dilán (Cupey, PR) and Casa Museo Wiechers Villalonga (Ponce). Currently I serve as the Chair of the Department of History and Fine Arts at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
Prof. Lopez received his BA in Visual Arts at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, San German and his MFA in painting at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Pennsylvania. The exhibit entitled, Tiempo de Lluvia" or "Rainy Season" is described by the artist as "a reinterpretation of visual elements used in the making of the iconography of Puerto Rico." The paintings are full of symbolism and icons that are used to tell past and present stories of politics, history and struggles on the island.