Rafael Trelles, (Puerto Rican, b. 1957), The Metamorphosis, 2019, etching ink, 36 x 48 in., Image courtesy of the artist.
September 18 – December 31, 2021

Rafael Trelles

The Imagined Word

Featuring a selection of fifteen drawings by Puerto Rican artist Rafael Trelles (Santurceb. 1957)The Imagined Word brings together the world of literature and the visual arts. Each image references a work of world literature, from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to Gabriel GarcÍa Marquez’s Cien Años de Soledad and Alejo Carpentier’s El Reino de Este Mundoamong others. Instead of merely illustrating the texts, Trelles conceives the images as parallel manifestations of the stories. For the artist, the encounter with each character occurs in the creative process: “I didn’t choose the characters, they chose me. The figures are emerging in the middle of the drawing process. While I’m drawing the figure, he or she reminds me of a book, a text, a passage, or a myth, and then I associate and name the figure.” Trelles accompanies each drawing with a quote from the text that inspired it; for him, these excerpts reflect the essence of the character depicted. The images included in the exhibition function as entry points to explore multiple realities and themes that resonate with the viewers’ experiences and imagination. 

With a long trajectory as a multi-media artist, Trelles offers viewers a world of possibilities in his work. As a voracious reader, storytelling informs his practice and his approach to image makingTrelles lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He studied Fine Art at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, followed by graduate studies at the Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico CityHe later moved to the Canary Islands, Spain, where he completed a series of paintings called the Universal TarotTrelles has received many prestigious awards including the Medal of Culture from the Fundación Alegría (2011), Innovation and Change in Higher Education Award, Humanities in Action, Center for Academic Excellence, University of Puerto Rico (2009), the Arts Medal from the Puerto Rican Association of Fine Artists affiliated to UNESCO (1998), among many others. Trelles’ works are exhibited and collected in museums and cultural institutions in Puerto Rico, the United States, and internationally. In 2015 the artist published his first book of poems El pez en llamas, and in 2019 was elected member of the Puerto Rican Academy of the Spanish Language.

This exhibition is organized by l’Artban.

Artist Talk with Rafael Trelles - In Spanish

Artist Talk with Rafael Trelles - English Translation 

Rafael Trelles, (Puerto Rican, b. 1957), Majestad negra (Black Majesty), 2019, etching ink and acrylic, 50 x 36 in., Image courtesy of the artist.
Rafael Trelles, (Puerto Rican, b. 1957), Rhinoceros, 2019, etching ink, 30 x 50 in., Image courtesy of the artist.

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