The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Ricardo Pau-Llosa analyzes Arnaldo Roche[-Rabell]’s paintings by arguing that his works both represent unique identities and evoke a process of identification in the viewer that occurs at an existential level. Roche achieves this by upending expectations of how human figures are perceived in paintings. Pau-Llosa characterizes Roche’s depictions of persons and objects as portraits employing a bi-dimensional, imaginative approach that is based mainly on identity and subjectivity. Pau-Llosa argues that identity is deeply ingrained in the multiple temporalities that characterize a Latin American visual experience. Therefore, Roche’s portraits represent the past and the present as fixed images frozen in time. But for Pau-Llosa, the key to understanding Roche’s work is the artist’s rich surface textures, which symbolize physicality and are achieved by his use of a rubbing technique (frottage) in which he wraps an object with canvas while painting, thus achieving an imprint that creates a dialogue between subject and canvas, and artist and canvas.
This essay by the Cuban-born, Miami-based poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa appeared in a catalogue for an exhibition of Arnaldo Roche[-Rabell]’s work at the Saint Louis Gallery of Contemporary Art in 1998. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1955, Roche attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received a BFA in 1982 and an MFA in painting in 1986. Roche received the Medallion of Lincoln Award, given by the Illinois State Senate, in 1981 and the Award in the Visual Arts 10 in 1990. His art explores issues of identity, race, and ethnicity through portraits and self-portraits.