Vicente Dopico-Lerner / Demons Inkpirations curated by Henry Ballate
Vicente Dopico-Lerner was born in Havana and has lived in the United States for most of his life, where he studied at Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, St. Thomas University and the Art Students League in New York; it was precisely at the Art Students League where he identified with the principles of Abstract Expressionism that have marked his career. But the fact of having been born in Cuba, his stay in Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico as well as his life in Miami, is perhaps what has not allowed his Caribbean demons to leave. Those faces or spontaneous figures, sweet and sad that are always seen in his work.
Ink is an ancient medium, usually a liquid or a form of paste traditionally black or brown in color—although it can also contain colored dyes or pigments—usually used with sable brushes or varieties of quill, reed or pen. Nevertheless, Dopico strays away from established forms and achieves an exceptional dominance over the conventional. In this exhibition “Demons Inkpirations,” the master lets the ink blend and bleed on the paper, revealing the mastery achieved through a long and bountiful career, keeping consequently alive the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism and its own eternal demons. The ground slowly gives way to figures, until the drawing transforms into a negative imprint of a painting filled with human-like shadows fighting, entangling themselves, falling to the ground or going up to heaven. More than demons can be seen guardian angels in his fascinating universe and more than Surrealism can be felt the Magical Realism of the Caribbean that always lives in his works.
Dopico-Lerner’s work refuses to settle into anything in particular, yet holds shape and displays a strange clarity. This is the inner resistance in Dopico, fighting the urge to express, in order to more fully embody. In a sense, one expresses only what one already knows. However, what Dopico is after is not what he already knows, but rather what he does not. These are undiscovered territories that he wanted to reach. So he looked for things to create emotional, aesthetic and conceptual frictions for the drawings to work against. The essential unsettledness in his work is the sedimentation—in form—of this struggle situated at the heart of everything he made. In “Demons Inkpirations,” every mark is the embodiment of a wish to resist what is, to best become what it wants to be. This is what is most unsettling in his practice.
Henry Ballate M.F.A
Director and Chief Curator
Kendall Art Center, The Rodriguez Collection