Heriberto Mora's art is the incarnation of John Keats' verse “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, in a way that demonstrates that an enduring work of art can be created without having to drink from the fountains of cynicism from which this era drinks from. He has not forgotten which “lovingly grows”: Light, harmony and contemplation.
Mora (Havana, Cuba, 1965) is a mystical artist who has achieved as of dome perfectly recognizable and usually very concrete elements to make of each art piece a connecting meadow between the mundane and a vision of that which is sacred. Each work – he says – “is the result of a meditation” and an invitation to partake in it: to exercise in the art of seeing beyond appearances. This means to say, to provide a continuum to the poetic extension of a work that renews the humane possibility of being wondered.
His series of white paintings brings to mind an expression of the mystic Juan de Escoto: “...and thus that this factory of the world is a great glow”. A sort of luminosity radiates from common objects such as carpets, ropes, pulleys, buildings and window vanes. It is not uncommon for an enormous circular teapot to serve also as a universe.
There are other artworks in which the foundation is in strong-colored objects – terracotta, blues and greens – combining these with vast monochromatic spaces, thus re-creating shapes which “dominate the darkness of matter” as the Neoplatonist wanted. His paintings manage to dress the simple object’s figurative shapes with a deep and touching vision of emptiness and wholeness. In his works, the sewing machines and the thread are reiterative, and quite often refer to the woven perception of reality that spans an inner journey in which all architectures – including the most intimate ones – are open towards the universe.
In a parallel fashion, the geographies alluding to his island of origin refer as well to the insular nature of a humanity that seeks navigation routes when adrift. In other works, similar to the garment or clothes hangers, the small houses are a succession to the body that may appear – now solitary, now multitudinous – alluding to the masses. Equally omnipresent are the towers or vertical structures as a metonymy of the human being itself, living and in transit in a never ceasing dynamic between tangible and intangible, between heaven and earth. Almost all such structures rise upon pedestals and have luminous arched windows, and connecting mechanisms to the exterior via threads or ropes which tense essential geometrical figures – such as pyramids or circles – which also possess a symbolic strength. In a nutshell, Heriberto Mora transforms ordinary objects into metaphysical machines.
The artist is also each meditative figure, a sailor in the infinite, or even a rabbit that disdainfully passes one by one all the carrots in order to jump into the abyss of a threshold having its own form or that stalks its shadow from the fire's light. Each work is an insinuation of a landscaped space. But also, each painting is a game field that offers, in exchange of the reality's chaos, an ordering space in which there is a playful order – we must never forget Mora has built wonderful wooden toys – and in which the artist plays a sort of juggling act of suspending reality to propose a vision of what is possible. The game of knowledge is an entertaining ordering mechanism. As a matter of fact, what he is recalling is the old motive of cosmic games where the smallest gesture can alter the course of the biggest events.
In some of his works, a seated couple (a position associated with meditation) has incidence on its surrounding cosmos. Their inner images fusion the spaces of intimacy and the presence of the collective, thus setting a continuum between the social, the tangible and the intangible. There is a common force interwoven by the ways in which we inhabit our home or Earth.
We are confronted with a weird sort of Utopia which is no longer ideological: beyond the perplexity of our times, Heriberto Mora, an artist of luminosities and geographies of dreams, explores within contemporary painting a new possibility risen from meditation: that of comeback, amidst the explosion of irony, to the clarity of the highest human dreams.
Adriana Herrera Tellez, Ph.D.
1987 – “San Alejandro” School of Fine Arts. Havana, Cuba.
2010 – “Interiors, Portrait´s retrospective”. Spanish Cultural Center. Miami, USA
2008 - “Thresholds”. ALLEGRO Gallery, Panama City, Panama
2008 - “Whispers of Light”. Espacio 304 Gallery, San Juan, Puerto Rico
2005 - "God is love" Mosquera Orthodontics, Miami, USA
2005 - "In HIM we live”, Onhate Fine Art, Miami, USA
2004 – Individual exhibit. Books and Books. Coral Gables, USA
2001 – “Martha and Mary”. Praxis International. Coral Gables, USA
2001 – “On the way home”. Onhate Fine Art. Miami, USA
2000 – Individual exhibit. Onhate Fine Art. Miami, USA
1999 – Individual exhibit. Hodges-Taylor Gallery, Charlotte, USA
1998 – Art Miami. Miami Convention Center. Miami, USA
1997 – Individual exhibit. Freites-Revilla Gallery. Coral Gables, USA
1995 – Individual exhibit. Freites-Revilla Gallery. Boca Raton, USA
1994 – Individual exhibit. Lumbreras-Fisher Fine Art, Coral Gables, USA
1994 – Art Miami. Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach, USA
1993 – Individual exhibit. Javier Lumbreras Fine Art. Coral Gables, USA
1993 – Individual exhibit. La Cal. Valdepeñas, Spain.
1993 – Art Miami. Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach, USA
2008 – “Visions”. Latin-american Art exhibition. Boca Raton Museum. Boca Raton, USA.
2007 – Allegro Gallery, Panama City, Panama.
2007 – Karen Lynne Gallery. Boca Raton, USA.
2007 – Virginia Miller Gallery. Coral Gables, USA.
2007 – Espacio 304 Gallery. San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2007 – Maxoly Art Gallery. Miami, USA.
2006 – America´s Collection. Coral Gables, USA.
2006 – Karen Lynne Gallery. Boca Raton, USA.
2006 – Espacio 304 Gallery. San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2004 – “Roundtrip”. Spanish Cultural Center. Coral Gables, USA.
2001 – Lyle O. Reitzel Contemporary Art. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
2001 – Art Miami. Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach, USA.
2000 – Hodges-Taylor Gallery. Charlotte, USA.
2000 – Annual Juried Exhibition. Society of the Four Arts. Palm Beach, USA.
2000 – “Caribbeaning 2000”. Lyle O. Reitzel Contemporary Art. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
2000 – Art Miami. Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach, USA.
1999 – Hodges-Taylor Gallery. Charlotte, USA.
1998 – Virginia Miller Gallery. Coral Gables, USA.
1998 – Isadora Wilkie Gallery. Coral Gables, USA.
1998 – Art Miami. Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach, USA.
1997 – Freites-Revilla Gallery. Coral Gables, USA.
1995 – Annual Juried Exhibition. Society of the Four Arts. Palm Beach, USA.
1995 – Weiss-Sori Fine Art. Coral Gables, USA.
1995 – Gary Nader Fine Art. Coral Gables, USA.
1993 – “Cuban artist of the Twentieth century”. Museum of Art. Fort Lauderdale, USA.
HONORS AND AWARDS
2009 – Artist in Residence, Hispanic Heritage Cultural Art Center (RAICES). Miami, USA.
2000 – Jim and Connie Houser Award. Society of the Four Arts. Palm Beach, USA.
2000 – New American painting. The Open Studios competition. Volume 28. Wellesley, USA.
1995 – Honourable mention. Hortt 37th Annual Competition. Museum of Art. Fort Lauderdale, USA.
Nassau County Museum of Art. New York, USA.
Berardo Collection. Berardo Museum. Lisbon, Portugal.
LOWE Art Museum. University of Miami. Miami, USA.
Museum of Art. Fort Lauderdale, USA.
Hugh McColl and Bank of America Collection.
Absolut Vodka Collection. New York, USA.