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The Puerto Rican curator, Mari Carmen Ramírez, who is based in the United States, analyzes over five decades of the work of the painter, Domingo García, using the self-portrait as her starting point. It is well-known that the artist executed numerous self-portraits using other genres—landscape, female nudes, flowers, abstract seascapes. We also know that the painter integrated his own image or physical traits into many such works, even if almost imperceptible. Ramírez states that while the self-portrait functions in Domingo’s production as a vehicle of affirmation and identity, it still introduces a paradox. The attempt to lead the viewer to identify a subject (in this case, the artist, himself) can only be realized through representation. Thus, there is a “negotiation” between the attempt to approach self-identification and the inevitable dependency on painting as the medium of representation. This is undoubtedly, Ramirez believes, an “ambigüedad productiva” [fruitful ambiguity] in García’s work. On the other hand, Ramírez concludes her essay commenting on how García’s narcissistic impulse is mirrored in the portraits of figures that are important to Puerto Rican history.
The exhibition, Domingo García: obra selecta en 50 años, [Domingo García: 50 Years of Selected Work] was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from November 5, 1999, to February 19, 2000.
Domingo García (Coamo, b. 1932) grew up in New York City and lived in the Big Apple for long stretches of time; however, he never broke his ties to Puerto Rico. In 1957, he returned to the island, and one year later, he founded the Galería Campeche in Old San Juan. This gallery provided a workshop, school, cultural center, and gallery where art training was provided for many of the young artists of that time. From 1988 to 1994, he was the director of the Galería Latinoamericana in Old San Juan. He also served as an instructor at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de San Juan [San Juan School of Visual Arts], from 1990 to 1997.