May 5-26, 2017
Luis Velázquez: Retrospective 1937-2016 and Family Continuity
Opening reception: Friday, May 5, 5:00-9:00 PM
Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Please note, the Emporium will be closed on Monday, May 29.
In this retrospective of the work of Luis Velazquez, we will have the opportunity, for the first time, to contemplate his artistic trajectory. Luis was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1937 and was a civil engineer, a community activist, and also an artist who liked to paint landscapes and portraits. His artistic formation was helped by the childhood friendship with Rene Cardona. Rene’s parents hired an art teacher who instructed him and he would then share the lesson with his friend. It was then when Luis became interested in painting, an ability he continued developing throughout his whole life.
He used oil primarily; all through his work you can see his interest in landscapes. Every piece of art is a mirror that reveals his acute vision and is a testimony to his perceptions, dreams and memories.
For his portraits, Luis found inspiration in the people he loved and using the pastel technique he painted a self-portrait, his wife Loida, his brother Tony, Tony’s wife Helen, his daughter Liana, his granddaughters Alyssa and Zoe, and his friend Dina.
Reality, for Luis, was a single element and is reflected in his paintings. His technique was a calculated elaboration of the chromatic plane. His brush was free, his palette colorful, vibrant and full of light, and his scenes were always full of life.
Puerto Rico and the Smokey Mountains were his favorite inspirational sites where his artistic eye conceived and later crystallized on his pieces of art.
Beyond all appearances, Luis in his paintings, revealed a profound inner life that he was able to make visible revealing his true self. Painting was his refuge, the one he had selected to be able to dream and remember; where through his art, the Artist and the spectator have found a space to communicate. Luis continued creating until the end.
Luis Velazquez was also the founder of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee. He was committed to the Latino community and always ready to extend a friendly hand without the expectation of repayment, earning him the respect and love from all of us.
I have tried to define my friend Luis Velazquez and concluded that he was “A humanist and an artist of many talents, with a deep vision.”
© Dina Ruta, 2017