Jose Garcia Montebravo

José Garcia Montebravo was a self taught artist who died just a few weeks ago in his hometown of Cienfuegos. Even though he did not have a formal art education, he was an educated man with an understanding of art, both current and historic.

When he discussed his influences, Montebravo referred to the Cuban avant-garde as well as artists from the past. Yet, Montebravo has a highly defined personal artistic voice; his work is very much his own, not in any way derivative.

Although known for his stunning representations of women, elegantly depicted alone on paper or canvas, Montebravo has also created other works that are more exotic and complex.

Many of these are composed of groups of figures. These works are unusual, in that in most cases the figures do not interact. They are placed in a row, as if the artist has done 3 or 4 portraits on one page. On occasion, a connection between the figures is implied, but never made clear. Furthermore, some of Montebravo’s figures are curious, at times with angel wings or mechanical parts.

This series is like a study that might be found in a sketchbook. They feel as if they are about process, rather than a finished project. But it is clear that Montebravo sees these efforts as completed works, signing them and releasing them to galleries.

For more information on Montebravo and other artists from Cuba, visit Indigo Arts, a gallery representing many important international artists.

Scott Rothstein is an artist who writes primarily about self-taught art and artists informed by traditional culture. His own work can been seen in several American museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rothstein has lived in Philadelphia, New York City, New Delhi, and Tokyo. He is currently based in Bangkok. He blogs at Art Found Out.

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