​​Abigail Gomez


            Discovering my cultural and ethnic roots and identity has always been important to me.  My cultural heritage offers great inspiration for creating very personal and expressive art.  I am Cuban, and my current series of paintings, Roots: La Cuba de Mi Bisabuelo, is a visual exploration of my experiences traveling to the cities in Cuba where my Great Grandfather resided before immigrating to the United States. 

            I have drawn on both atmosphere and location as sources for subject matter, along with my emotional responses to these times, locations, elements and spaces. I have created the paintings in this series using a combination of structural elements inspired by the intricate Spanish styled iron-work evident on Cuban homes, along with abstracted imagery of more natural scenes found in the countryside of the Pinar del Rio and Havana provinces. 

            On every support, under the painting, there is structure, texture and dimension.  I use a masking method to create the patterns found on the wrought-iron gates adorning almost every doorway in both urban and rural Cuba.  The intricate ironwork that still stands today shows the longevity of the Spanish influence on the island.  I use modeling paste to create this dimensional effect on cradled panels.  This establishes a structural starting point for the compositions, and creates an underlying unity among the pieces.  The following layers are created with acrylic paints, gels, mediums, and found objects, and represent my interpretation of the landscapes that I experienced in Cuba.  The vibrantly colored, naturally inspired layers contrast and balance with the more rigid and geometrical “man-made” underlying structure. 

            Belleza de la Tierra (Beauty of the Earth) is the first painting in this series that I completed.  Its underlying structure is based on a wrought iron valance above a boarded up doorway on a pale blue, decaying building in Habana Vieja (Old Havana).  The arcing pattern established underneath accentuates the idea of a sunrise on the horizontal panel.  The vibrant colors layered on the bottom bring the viewers’ focus to the texture-rich ground, representing the beauty of the Cuban land.  Rolling hills are indicated by arcing patterns of tiny shells, found on the beaches of Playas del Este, outside Havana. 

            The Roots project has led me to form a physical and emotional connection to Cuba.  I now have the experiences, photographs, emotions, and materials to define my identity artistically, with regard to and emphasis on my Cuban heritage. 

Abigail Gomez