I know it’s mainly a matter of taste but when you see the real thing – something that just hits you, works and makes you smile with recognition – you know it. It’s a visceral almost cellular-level experience. And that’s what happened to myself and Johnny Considine (Esencia Group´s Marketing Manager and their Man in Havana) when we walked into this exhibition yesterday, housed in the lovely Casa de Mexico in Old Havana.
It’s pretty clear that this prolific, young, student painter – remarkably, still a year away from graduating – has what they call a bright future, and most probably a lasting one. But it’s not just his obvious, instinctive talent. You can see very clearly that the artist – the smiling Miguel Alejandro Machado Suarez – has done his homework, too; he nods deeply and reverently to older styles (often using dark, heavily textured oils). But, impressively working and incorporating these traditions, he appears to have also, already, found his own bright, eclectic, contemporary voice and style.
If you´re interested in emerging Cuban artists – and any serious aficionado or collector should be, methinks – Havana´s Higher Institute of Art (or those in the provinces) is a fine place to start. Miguel Alejandro is only 24 years old and, despite having shown in smaller, joint exhibitions, this was his first, personal show. But by the time we arrived – only 30 minutes after the official opening – he had already sold work ranging from 500 to 5, 000 cucs. What to say? He´s off next week to take up a month´s residency in the US – in Vermont´s Studio Centre – but will be back by the end of August.
Enjoy this talent. And buy, if you can. This young man already on his way.