BY CORRINE KENNER
SPECIAL TO THE BEACON
Reynier Llanes, who fled Cuba for the United States in 2007, is one of the youngest artists, at age 36, in Cuba’s tradition of narrative, symbolist painters. His exhibit “When There Is No Frontier” will be featured at the Museum of Art – DeLand from Friday, May 20, through Sunday, Aug. 28, at the main gallery at 600 N. Woodland Blvd.
Llanes blends folk tales and fantasy to create mesmerizing portraits, magical landscapes, and surreal still-life paintings. Much of his work is inspired by stories his grandfather used to tell, along with African myths, rural lore, religious beliefs, superstitions and Cuban customs.
In 2004, at the age of 19, he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Instructores de Arte in Pinar del Rio. In Havana, Llanes was mentored by one of the country’s most recognized realist artists, Juan Miguel Suárez. Llanes also taught art to children and painted murals with other community artists.
From the beginning of his professional career, Llanes felt limited by the Cuban government’s restrictions on artistic expression. Recently, on his Facebook page, Llanes described his approach: “Art holds a mirror up to society reflecting its interests and concerns, while at the same time challenging its ideologies and preconceptions. During difficult times it is easy to get caught up in fear and to retract from humanity. As an artist, I feel it is my responsibility to express myself and to record the human experience for future generations. Art is a vehicle for communication and awareness. It is my duty to bring light to our current situation and to honor those who fight for our future.”
The exhibit “When There Is No Frontier” showcases some of Llanes’ most striking images, including monumental oil paintings that measure 5 and 6 feet tall. The exhibit also features some of his watercolor paintings, drawings and mixed-media pieces.
Llanes’ exhibition will open with a reception 5-7 p.m. May 20. Admission is free for museum members and costs $10 for nonmembers. Reservations are appreciated, and can be made by calling 386-734-4371 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an Artist Talk, Llanes will discuss his work 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21. Admission is free for museum members and costs $5 for nonmembers. Because space is limited, reservations are required.