Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Journal November 13---Gallery Show for Danilo Cuevas

An unexpected evening of inspiration and re-invention, surrounded by creative, welcoming people.

Last evening I had the opportunity to attend a gallery exhibit of the paintings of an exciting Chicago talent, Danilo Cuevas.  Jillian had met Dan at a local Suburban art show, and received an invitation to this, his sixth annual gallery exhibit.  Mark and I were eager to attend and experience his new work.

Dan is a self-taught painter.  With the Masters Degree he earned in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, he entered the corporate world, but after too many long nights on the job, he made a brave decision to leave it all behind and make painting his sole sustaining career.  This is re-invention in its purest form....and courage is the key.

Dan's oils evoke simple subjects like
Chicago cityscapes, still-life studies of plants and flowers, fruit,
and various food (Jillian acquired "Lemon Meringue");  he uses color and composition to create a feeling of fun and balance.  The cityscapes are especially fine and best represent his work, utilizing dynamic, iconic images of Chicago streets, transportation, skylines, and familiar locations such as Buckingham Fountain, The Art Institute, and Wrigley Field.  Dan's work is pleasing, playful, often intriguing, but always accessible.  We recognize his subjects immediately, and so we have more time for closer study of his use of color and light.  His brushstrokes are often delicate, but sometimes, as in my favorite called "The Coast", he uses pallette brush to create a wonderful movement, at once active and peaceful, achieving an impressionistic quality. 

The paintings declare a love for the beauty of ordinary life around us.  The artist draws our attention to things we might overlook every day...and to me this is one of the greatest functions of a modern artist, to remind us to ponder, not ignore, the familiar.

Along with enjoying the work in a fashionable loft in the City's North Side arts colony, we had the real pleasure of meeting Dan and his close circle of family members who assisted him in his exhibit.  His partner Trent kindly spent some time with us engaged in conversation about artistic pursuits.  I suspect he has tremendous talent for artistic expression but, remained modest.  We thoroughly enjoyed meeting him.   Trent's sister Tana was ebullient and so warm and supportive of Mark and me.  Best of all, she and Jillian bonded over the fact that they work for the same company!  And Trent's Mother Jan was helpful and terrifically friendly, and gave us much insight into the support and love that Dan receives in his pursuit.

Dan was the consummate host.  While everyone wanted time with him, he managed to show sincere interest and appreciation for our questions and comments, and made us feel like we were his favorite guests.

I am looking forward to Dan's next show, and I heartily recommend him to my readers.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to hear of your support for the arts. If only more people like yourself could nurture the creativity of those that promote beauty and community spirit while sharing their vision. In these dark, economic times where support for the arts is often scarce, Dan's wonderful artwork stands like a beacon of hope. Nicely done.