Outside Cuba : Contemporary Cuban Visual Artists = Fuera de Cuba : Artistas Cubanos Contemporáneos. -- [New Brunswick] : Office of Hispanic Arts, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey ; [Coral Gables] : Research Institute for Cuban Studies, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Miami, Florida,s, 1988.
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Mario Bencomo’s artist statement describes how he was born in 1953 on the date of the Moncada Barracks offensive and grew up within the revolution. Growing up Bencomo knew he did not want to stay in Cuba and declares that exile has made him more human and more aware. The artist believes Cuba is a “secular myth”—an image that he invents, as do most Cubans. He concludes by discussing how his work is informed by nature and the work of Vincent van Gogh (1853–90)and Mark Rothko (1903–70).
Mario Bencomo is one of the artists of the Miami Generation, a loose group of Cuban-American artists who arrived in Miami in the 1960s and early 1970s, studied in the local universities, and emerged in the art milieu in the late-1970s. He is one of few Cuban-American artists who practice abstract painting. Mario Bencomo’s artist statement appears alongside images of his work in the exhibition catalogue, Outside Cuba: Contemporary Cuban Visual Artists. The statement is excerpted from oral histories taken by exhibition co-curators, Inverna Lockpez and Ricardo Viera, in 1986. This traveling exhibition is the first major show of contemporary Cuban artists (with a focus on the art of Cubans living outside of the island since 1959 and specifically Cuban-Americans) since the 1944 Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Modern Cuban Painters, in New York. The exhibition catalogue contains two essays by Cuban-American writers, Ricardo Pau-Llosa and Ileana Fuentes-Perez, numerous artist’s statements, and brief biographies of the forty-eight exhibition artists.
Bencomo was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, in 1953. As a youth his parents sent him alone from Cuba to live in Spain. At the age of 14, he left Madrid for the U.S., arriving by himself in New York in 1968 and he reunited with his parents in Miami later on the same year. In 1996 he returns to Cuba for the first time, three decades after he left, visiting Cuba periodically since then. He works in Miami and Montreal. Bencomo is recognized for his use of intense color and the evocation of nature in abstract painting.