Spanish artist Rafael Lopez offers a moving and contemplative exhibition of large-scale paintings, “Rite of Passage” in three art galleries at Western Nevada College in Carson City through March 21 in the Bristlecone Building.
The exhibition features three distinctive bodies of work spanning the years before, during and after Lopez, whose artistic identity is Blanco De San Roman, earned his Master’s of Fine Arts degree in studio art at the University of Nevada, Reno. He currently teaches art at UNR and Truckee Meadows Community College.
The time frames of each section of Lopez’ exhibit serve as a record of his journey. Lopez, whose artistic identity is Blanco de San Roman, was born in Alicante, a city on the south Mediterranean coast of Spain, where his family lives today. Growing up in Madrid he remembers countless times exploring the National Prado Museum with his mother, his fascination with paintings by Velazquez, Goya, Zurbaran, Dali and Picasso, and the remarkable realism in their canvases. His grandfather was a well-known sculptor.
The exhibition begins with pre-graduate work entitled “Painting Timelessness,” developed out of Lopez’ own experience.
“Unquestionably, the visits to El Prado and my grandfather’s art marked my course,” he said. “When a portrait is painted on a canvas and the viewer is almost able to feel the breath of the model, the painting has reached its supreme level of reality, enclosing its viewers into an inescapable sense of timelessness.”
The second phase of the exhibition, “Living in El Norte” features paintings and recordings that reflect Lopez’ experiences as an immigrant to America, being treated differently when he was seen as Hispanic rather than when he was identified as Spanish.
“Faded Glory” allows the viewer to consider the idea of nationalism vs. patriotism. “From the beginning of my journey in America, I have been fascinated by the coexistence of the numerous multicultural communities,” Lopez said. “Despite their immense differences, I learned the essential clue that helps the cultures coexist inside the same borders is a resilient sense of American patriotism.
“‘Old Glory’, an established representation of democracy and freedom has become, for many, more than a symbol. It has become ‘America’,” he said. “Ironically, it has also become an essential image of mass production.”