works are the fruit of a meditation on the importance of the various
forms of oral communication that can be found in Cuban culture.
The full range of support materials must be considered in order
to fully grasp the relationships between expression-extroversion
Music, which is an integral part of the life experience within
the Black culture, defines the essential individual characteristics
of that population. In this case jazz, which is a product of cross-cultural
influences and the appropriation of western patterns that have
been grafted onto a totally spontaneous and unpredictable voice,
will be viewed as the paradigm for the formal expression of a
living culture that speaks from a peripheral place outside the
mainstream. Both the graphic support and the drawings define my
attitude toward these social phenomena, with semantic games where
the text can be read within a metaphorical context.
The thread that connects the representation of the artistic object
to the range of theoretical references mentioned above can be
found in the close relationship that exists between the content
and the formal solutions that allude to the same concepts inherent
in the idea, such as the accident, the gesture, or intuition.
I am interested in probing the sociological experience implied
in these other extra-aesthetic functions of art, and reflecting
on the actual process of creation.
The work of the young Cuban artist Frank Martínez represents
an energetic addition to the island's artistic production. His
subject matter, which suggests a vision that is deeper than it
is wide, includes social groups, country folk, and both popular
and marginal environments, as well as recordings made of ordinary
people that convey the value of the oral tradition, unprecedented
pentagrams, and magical musical instruments, all of which are
rendered in his energetic drawing style that, in general, reveals
a strong tendency toward a morphological expressionism.
In spite of what might be construed from his use of archetypes,
his focus on sociological concerns, and his descriptive view of
ethnic themes, there is no hint of any essentialism in his art,
nor does it reflect the recent superfluous and excessive tendency
to portray Afro-Cuban influences from the clichéd perspective
of a recurrent and facile iconography. Quite to the contrary,
his artistic queries achieve a functionality by way of what I
would call a strategy of restating the "sameness" that
exists in today's global scenario, as well as on an island where,
in spite of what I have said above, one still finds what I have
described as "a critical examination of what is essentially
Cuban and a sensitive quest for self-definition in the current
changing landscape." (1)
(1) (Carina Pino-Santos. Fin de milenio. Nuevos
artistas cubanos. [End of the millennium. New Cuban artists.]
Havana, Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2002).