Opening Julio Valdez (Dominican Republic): Recent Work

My recent work reflects my interest in creating a spatial uncertainty, a sense of time not yet defined. This new series has been inspired by diverse places such as the Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestún, a large coastal wetland reserve and wildlife refuge in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. I continue to explore ways of including my personal experiences and memories in my paintings.

In the Caribbean region, the surrounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea create a sense of light and space that are at once a blessing and a curse. My paintings explore this oceanic landscape that is both illusory and dreamlike. I have been examining images of water beyond its physical characteristics, as a metaphor for consciousness and the creative process.

Other places that have inspired my visual explorations in these paintings are Las Terrenas and Cayo Arenas, both in the Dominican Republic, as well as Skaneateles Lake, the smallest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. These places allow me to experience a communion with nature and its cycles, which I have found are an inviting entry point to my own inner explorations.

Julio Valdez

Julio Valdez’s printed oeuvre attests to the significant role that printmaking can play in an artist’s career. His experimental mixture of techniques and openness to new processes continue to expand his creative program and the technical range of his work in all mediums.

Although two dimensional, Valdez’s prints are anything but flat. The ink, paper, and complex matrices compressed under the weight of the press create intricate lines and textured surfaces that are tactile. Throughout his career, Valdez has consistently engaged print processes that appeal to the touch as much as to sight. This method parallels the artist’s approach to his mixed – media painting – applying a combination of acrylic paint, acrylic pigments, and ink onto paper which is mounted onto canvas or jute. In print, he achieves this layered quality with a similarly hands-on approach that combines an array of printmaking processes, often utilizing non-traditional materials.

Judith B. Hecker
Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints
Museum of Modern Art, New York