Canvasing the Caribbean

Martinez still lives in Cuba, where he became much more prominent after Castro's reign began, appropriating a Warholesque pop style incorporating Cuban iconography. Critic Gerardo Mosquera writes that "the image of the Revolution that will endure in Cuban painting is [in] the works executed by Ral Martinez in the Sixties and Seventies." That may well be; it would have been interesting to see some of his paintings from this markedly different later period. And the show certainly would have benefited from the addition of work by more of the artists. Not included here is the great Antonia Eiriz, who had loose ties to Los Once in the beginning. She moved to Miami in 1993 and continued painting here until her death in 1995. Her sublime canvases express tortured emotions and at times allude to the repressive policies of the Castro regime.

By including these and other works, the museum's exhibition could have told a more thorough story about this innovative era in Cuban art history. The truth is that despite the show's name and an intriguing catalogue essay on Los Once by local scholar Juan Martinez, this is really a retrospective of the work of Llinas. It traces his output as he departs from post-cubist abstraction to pictures reminiscent of Wifredo Lam's that incorporate Afro-Cuban religious symbols (the most interesting) to more expressive colorful canvases. There are some emotional, engaging paintings here, but by the time you get to his later works (through 1994) it all feels rather repetitive. And the scant paintings by other artists seem like an afterthought. Had Morgan fulfilled the promise of the exhibition title, this would have been a smashing show. As it is, it's merely a tease.

Works from the '70s. Through April 8 at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 3078 SW 38th Ct; 448-8976.

Guido Llinas and Los Once After Cuba. Through April 2 at the Art Museum at FIU, SW 8th Street and 107th Avenue; 348-2890.

Admission to both shows is free.

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