2010 WEBSITE SPECIAL GUESTS
Each summer special guests are invited to exhibit works on the site which either express or in some way interpret the summer theme. This year's theme was "Octave: Music, Summer-Style," and the site welcomed a Guest Painter, Guest Photographer, Guest Poet and Guest Sculptors.
*** I am sorry to announce that Cuban-born abstract expressionist painter Viredo passed away a little more than a year ago. It was a pleasure and an honor to have been able to include him as a Guest Painter and present a small retrospective of his many artworks. It is possible that there might be an exhibit of his works in the Los Angeles area later this year, and if so, notices about the exhibit will be posted on the website. ***
Viredo Espinosa (who uses only his first name as an artist) was born in 1928 in Regla, a small town across the bay from Havana, Cuba. He first began to gain notoriety as a painter in Cuba in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1952, he was invited to exhibit at the Sociedad Nuestro Tiempo in the show entitled, "Fifteen Young Painters and Sculptors" (15 Pintores y Escultores Jovenes). Only eleven artists ultimately showed work, and the art critic Joaquin Texidor referred to the exhibitors as "The Group of Eleven" (Grupo de Los Once), a name that followed the young artists for the rest of their careers. However, by 1956, the political situation in Cuba was becoming increasing strained. Some of the art exhibited by members of "Los Once" came under the scrutiny of the Batista regime because of perceived anti-government sentiments. In addition, some members of the group refused to show their works at government-sponsored exhibitions. After Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, the new government began to reorganize much of Cuban life, including the arts, around the goals of the revolution. Eventually this led to Viredo's decision that he and his wife must leave the country. They left on a Freedom Flight and saw Cuba for the last time in 1969.
Through the help of friends, Viredo was able to secure work in Los Angeles, where the couple were to live with a friend. Eventually he began to paint again, and galleries in Los Angeles and Orange County began to exhibit his works. By 1977, after a 17-year absence from the art he loved, he was once again able to take up painting full time. His subject matter remained the rich culture of the Cuba. Locally, he continued to offer his work to help the Cuban community. He designed posters for the Cuban-American Scholarship Fund and donated art work to raise money for various charitable causes. He has been given a "Local Hero Award" by PBS station KCET and Union Bank of California, and in 2000, he received the "La Palma Espinada" from the Cuban Culture Institute. To read more about Viredo and see more of his art, visit his website at www.viredo.com. Images of his paintings and engravings can be found on the "All Cities By Date" concert page. Click here to visit that page now.
GUEST POET SHARMAGNE LELAND-ST. JOHN
Her poetry collections include Unsung Songs, Silver Tears and Time, and Contingencies. She is co-author of Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist, a memoir on motion picture design, and her fourth collection of poetry, La Kalima, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2010. Find out more about Sharmagne and her work by visiting the poetry e-zine site at www.quillandparchment.com. You can begin reading her poetry and songs by visiting the Guest Poet Page. Click here to visit that page now.
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