Miguel Saludes / American Rural Idylls curated by Henry Ballate
June 5 1974 Isla de la Juventud, Cuba.
Miguel Saludes was born in 1989 in Cojímar, a small fishing town located in East Havana, Cuba. His father, Miguel Saludes Sr. a shipyard technical inspector-turned political activist, is one of the founding members of the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación) and of the Varela Project (Projecto Varela) which sought to promote elections, and basic civil rights and freedoms in Castro’s regime. His mother, Lourdes Gonzalez, is a seasoned Spanish language educator whose teachings have reached children, adolescents, and adults alike. Due to his father’s role in the dissidence, Saludes’ family was persecuted by the Cuban government for an extended period of time, which eventually drove the family to seek political asylum in the United States. In 2005, the Saludes settled in Miami, Florida.
AMERICAN RURAL IDYLLS
Aldo Leopold, the conservationist, forester and philosopher, observed the seasonal changes and migratory patterns of wild life in his book A Sand County Almanac. The slender volume is a diary of sorts, where Leopold recorded the rhythm of the natural world and shared his enthusiasm about the arrival of the Canadian geese, the sun burnt grass in the depth of summer and the first snow of winter. Like Leopold, Miguel Saludes is a careful observer of his location. He sees things that we do not and his paintings capture his intimate relationship with his world.
Birth of the World and Pennsylvania Corn Field are joyful paintings of the earth’s bounty that explode with color. Yet they are also reminders of the brevity of life. This theme is sharper in Life After the Fire as Miguel captures the beautiful regeneration of the Florida landscape and its remarkable capacity for renewal after calamity.
Whether he is studying the grass or a wooden floor, Saludes’ exacting craftsmanship, his devotional layering of pigment upon pigment, allows us to look with him. His paintings invite us to feel his vision, as stroke by stroke, he constructs his gaze for us. In a world that feels sped up, Miguel’s paintings ask us to slow down. To look, not just glance, and to take pleasure in the beauty that surround us.
Julia Morrisroe, 2018.
Artist and Associate Professor of Art at University of Florida