About the Artist
Casimiro Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba, where he studied in the National School of Fine Arts, and graduated as Set and Interior Designer. While he was in his last year of School, he participated in a contest of Scenography Design and Lights in The National Theater Festival of Cuba, and received two awards for his scenography in two plays: Macbeth and Blood Weddings,(1979).
In 1980, Mr. Gonzalez immigrated to the United States .During his first year in Chicago, he worked for “El Latino Chicago” and “Imagenes” theatrical groups, as set designer, scenographer,
customs and lights. He also worked as an interior designer for several restaurants and nightclubs in New York, Chicago, and Mexico.
At the same time he was developing a serious interest towards painting, which has become the most fundamental part of his life.
His work has been exhibited in several galleries in New York, Florida, Indiana, Washington DC, Chicago Illinois, Miami Florida, San Antonio Texas, Las Vegas Nevada, San Francisco, N. Carolina, Panama, and Barcelona Spain.
His paintings are now part of private collections in several States in USA, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Panama, Brasil and Israel.
His work has been critically acclaimed throughout the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Spain and Sweden. He was commissioned to create the image for the official poster of the 1996 Chicago Latino Cinema Film Festival.
In1998, received the South Miami Key of Florida for contribution to the artistic community of Dade County.
Certificate of Appreciation, Miami Dade County of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners in May 2001.
In 2001 he was commissioned to create the image for the official poster of “The 5th Annual United States Conference on AIDS.
“Within every work of art exists a life and message which are witnesses
to the multitude of human emotions, from within the colors and the forms ,
comes this magic, but nothing surges outward without the dialogue between
the artist, the work and the public. This dialogue, while unspoken , is
fundamental and necessary in my life… and without it, I can not create”
“Essentially there are two thematic coordinates in his pictorial works: one is a lyric, nostalgic and political interpretation of Cuba, and a hymn to humanity. The other can be perceived as an active or contemplative form; this, generally is warm and affectionate, but can also be melancholy, bitter, sensual, dreamy and spiritual. Interpreting Casimiro is focusing on disappointment and loneliness in the midst of cruelty. Incidentally the characteristics of his personality are reflected in his Art: suffering and compassion for the feelings of other human beings. There is no hatred or rancor in his paintings or political facet, on the contrary, there is an interrogation. And there is something he never forgets, nor accepts, and it’s the excessive ambition of some who are capable of going to any lengths to attain success, even if it means stepping over and hurting other human beings.”
Jose M. Neisten, Ph.D. International Association of Art Critics, Paris, France
“For Cuban painter Casimiro, art is is an intellectual, spiritual and physical necessity… The artist needs to dedicate himself to what he does or needs to do. How to be a writer if you don’t write, or a painter if you don’t paint, without feeling any pain in the process, without giving up your artistic vision?”
“Casimiro: La necesidad de pintar, “Chicago Tribune: ¡Exito!,” February 17, 1994, p. 12
“Nude bodies intertwined, Renaissance muscles, elongated features, deep eyes, all the elements of Casimiro’s Art from a consolidated unit: the call to solidarity, the liberation of the senses.”
Ana Mendieta, "Casimiro Gonzalez o el Arte del Sentimiento Desnudo",La Raza newspaper, October 17, 1993
“Ten years ago, his bodies were emaciated, rendered in a monochromatic brown. His recent work uses bright, almost tropical hues, and the figures are solid and rounded, even massive. Perhaps this development is his reponse to a 16-year exile from his home in Cuba. The thin, isolated figures of his first years in Chicago perhaps reflected the initial shock and instability suffered by an immigrant in a new culture and in a new climate. And the sensual bodies and warm colors of his recent paintings may suggest a nostalgia and longing for the Caribbean, no longer his home.”
Bertha Husband, “Chicago Readers” newspaper, November 22, 1996
“…Rare landscapes that, without an excessive figuration, they give us the perfect idea of what they want to show…” “…Very tropical painting, which evidences emotion and humankind, in figures that remind us of the subjects of Botero (but more tropical, according to the painter)…”
Jesús Vega, “Una explosión de colores,” “Miami Herald: ¡Exito!,” 14 de mayo de 1997, p. 45
“[His paintings’] color, fresh and simple, border on modernity, try to communicate and create images easily recognized and of subtle significance. Definitively, a useful image, direct and with a comprehensible and moderate meaning…His messages of approximation also suggest the search for tranquility and order; the finding of a freedom that, shaped through situations, gestures, and colors, will bring us closer to the most warmth and the most human.”
Margarita Iglesias, “Casimiro González, La imagen eficaz,” ESPIRAL DE LAS ARTES, Año IV, Volumen VI, No 31/32, 1996
My first impression of the picturesque work by Casimiro Gonzalez was, to find myself with the magic realism where is taken place “Macondo” Caribbean world.
The color, the spontaneous ways, authenticity, innocence, pleasure and characteristics of his own characters, carry their special atmospheric space, where the Caribbean ways has taken over with a familiarity and reality, making magic in Casimiro Gonzalez’s word.
Symbolic figures of a surreal phase of magic realism in Casimiro Gonzalez’s well-cherished Cuba, is his objective, in which lies his creative imagination, discarding his emotions and nostalgic phase of his marvelous and unforgettable childhood, filled with color, a fantastic Caribbean word with yellow butterflies, impression, in consequence, forever making his life.
To contemplate Casimoro Gonzalez’s work is to be faced with a world without limits to the pure expression of an artist, that without hidden messages, reveals to us his innocent beings, the strength and reason of actions taken place in life, in which, are forever marked. In such way, Gonzalez introduces us to a symbolic magical world of dreams, and reality, enriching our own vision with his potent Caribbean colors and abundance of passion and life.
Juan Carlos Contreras Torres, Curator/Artistic Director, Foundation of Contemporary Arts, 1997
“…In the cheerful paintings of Casimiro González, life is a fantasy to be enjoyed and we are invited to muse with his ample figures and, like them, not take too seriously.”
Carol Damian, “The Contented Characters of Casimiro González,” SEIS CONTINENTES, 2001, pp. 61-67
“The problem is dedication. You must dedicate yourself to what you do or desire to do. How are you going to be as a writer or a painter if you don’t go through the pain, the process? Without giving yourself to the vision? Just because you splotch the canvas with paint and when your’re tired of doing it you decide it looks like art, and so you call it art just because it reminds you of something. That’s not art. That’s a waste of time…”
“…I have known painters that agree with the spontaneous flow of ideas, of starting on a blank canvas without some predetermined design. And I just don’t agree with that because the way I work I end up getting ideas during the middle of the day, while I am working or when I am lying sleepless in bed or while taking a shit in the can. Ideas come to me at any time, in any place…”
“…But at the end, the most fundamental question is what does that work of art have to offer, both to the artist and the viewer. So you come across abstract art and say, you are viewing a totally white canvas with a single black dot off to the side somewhere. You ask yourself, what does that painting have to offer me? And there are people who will view such painting and say, ‘Fabulous! Can you feel the isolation in that painting?’…”
“…All that is abstract in painting must go through a process, from the realistic to ever-deepening degrees of abstractness, until the representation is more than indiscriminate strokes of color on the canvas. What kind of bullshit is that, stroking the paint here and there, stepping back and going ‘Wow look at all that color—and it’s got harmony…”
“…Everything is a process and journey. And it’s very much like giving birth to a child: That’s how it came out of you and that’s how it came out of you and that’s how you must accept it and not be ashamed of it, even if it’s ugly…”
“…So you have to be dedicated to that process because it means pain and sacrifice. How many of us hate what we do for a living because it takes us away from our creative search? And so as an artist you must make decisions on lifestyle…”
“…Beauty is relative first of all because there can lie beauty in the death of an individual. Yet others can perceive the same death as an event that is devastating. I can decide to paint a nude model or a landscape. Everything in these things you may perceive as perfect in their beauty, in their harmony; yet, you can paint an old lady, blind, wrinkled, and you may perceive beauty in her as well. Even in what you perceive as ugly, you may find beauty. I express what I feel, what I have lived, That is all I can do…”
Americo Paz, “Casimiro Gonzalez: Soul in Exile,” Hyphen Magazine, Chicago’s Magazine of the Arts. 23, Issue 6
“…the painter brings into his work of universally accepted themes, the same freshness, delightful shape, and exuberance in color…This is a work of art that, from a contagious happiness and a playful eloquence, reveals a conciliation of the artist with himself and expresses his will to celebrate life and beauty…”
Armando Alvarez Bravo, “Algo más que color, para celebrar la vida,” El Nuevo Herald, miércoles 30 de abril de 1997
“…Casimiro knows no limits. His work goes beyond the simple aesthetic representation and his characters unfold, multiply, and reproduce with the same vitality by which they are created. But, perhaps more important is the fact that these serve as perpetual mirrors of each of our lives…”
Miguel Fernández, “Fantasías mundanas,” Diario Las Américas, viernes 20 de enero de 2006
“When we are faced with a painting, the first sight approach is decisive. The picture either moves us, arouses our rejection or leaves us indifferent. That is to say, it places us before a reality and a mystery that take places us before a reality and a mystery that take place outside us, but also ‘toward’ us. Then follows the exploration of its weft, the approach to its clues, the slow deciphering of its messages: that indefinable ritual that is the joy of creation, whether it be positive or not.”
“…González is largely a painter of the immediateness of everyday objects, of the life of the creature on the same level with the world. When he is faced with the bare canvas, he wants to exalt it, although at times, he cannot avoid introducing in his art signs of an affliction that is as human as that of his characters…There is a will, a deliberate attempt on the part of the artist to make his painting, although occasionally tinged with melancholy, become a horizon of life for everything that life can and must be. A life which, further to the immediate references anchored in this case in the memory of the creator, recognizes neither landscapes nor frontiers, as though it were the owner of a lost nature, which is its greatest heritage and its greatest right.”
“…since he is an accurate chronicler of his world, through the opulence of his figures, the immediateness of his images, the distribution of his symbols and the discourse of plenitude and possibility in his paintings, Casimiro González, paints a world toward everyone.”
Armando Alvarez Bravo,“Casimiro González, A World Toward Everyone,” ARTE AL DIA, No. 70.