A work with a life of its own
Brief introduction to Reynier Ferrer’s work “The real Shakespeare disappears in the glory of Shakespeare.
Without his works he would be nobody.
Shakespeare’s work, on the other hand, without him would continue to be Shakespeare’s work.” Jean-Claude Carriere.1 Borges said that his work did not belong to him because it was full of influences and quotes, it was the result of his innumerable readings. For Jean-Philippe de Tonnac “When civilization invents the wheel, it is doomed to repeat itself ad nauseam”2. Dostoevsky affirmed, in Crime and Punishment , that “We eat what has already been chewed!”3. It is in this permanent recycling that true originality lies.
There is a moment in which an artist begins to recycle himself. For when that happens, which happens very rarely and only when you work doggedly for a long period of time, with the risk, very likely, of not getting somewhere, but assuming it despite that unbearable uncertainty because you wouldn’t know, and you couldn’t do something else, when you reach that spot, I said, of self-recycling, the work achieves an independent life, it acquires individuality, it is already a living organism. Reynier´s work is already that, it is an individuality. That means you can see it into the “crowd”, and you know “who” it is. His influences are clear: the Cuban painting of the second avant-garde, the vividness of its colors, that “cuban color” that found its opportunity at the beginning of the last century; the cuban abstract expressionism of the mid-century, the North American abstract movement and the Action Painting that took refuge in New York: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, etc., from them the gestures, the physical, but also the way in which the anguish is expressed through the stain, and the gesture.
On the other hand, and I give more importance to this, Reynier’s work is, like few others, a reflection of his life, it seems like a diary. All his moods converge in his work. He doesn’t know how to vent any other way. It is a deeply intimate, heartbreaking work. It has moments of happiness, but I dare to say that they are the least. That is the reason, perhaps, why it is less difficult for him to start a work than to finish it, and that is because the first impulse is very physical, emotional, almost violent. After that everything already happened, and the rational thing, that is, arriving to the final result, is more difficult for him.
I think what I have just pointed out defines, and presents, Reynier’s work. He asserts, wisely, that he doesn’t have much to say about his work. I am convinced that he also thinks that it does not belong to him.
To fully understand his process, it is necessary to know his attitude towards his work. How he faces and assumes his work, because as I always say, what is going to be, or not, art, time will decide, what makes the difference is the attitude. In this sense, the essential thing that defines him is humility, but deep humility, not the one that is related to the ego, but the one that produces the natural insecurity caused by the searching processes, the one that leads you, in a way almost sick, to nonconformity.What is there before, and during? Fear, agony, anguish; those rare forms of happiness.
Perhaps the maximum external and recognizable expression of this is his studio. It’s a real mess, a real workplace: chaotic, almost nothing is in place, he usually can’t find what he’s looking for, full of paint stains everywhere. There is no way to enter and not stain yourself, as usually happens to those who visit it. If you don’t want to stain your clothes, and especially your shoes, you better not go. It is the only studio I know that is not prepared to receive guests, it is an intimate place, which only his friends have access to. That, I think, explains a lot.
Practicing this profession, I also dare to say, is not an option, it is not something that is chosen.When it is done honestly – few examples come to my mind – it is more ungrateful than gratifying.
For Reynier it is matter of Faith, an atheistic Faith, but likewise inexplicable.
Alejandro Machado Miami. April 2023.
1- Jean-Claude Carriere. Nadie acabará con los libros. Umberto Eco/Jean-Claude Carriere. Editorial Lumen.
First Edition 2010, p. 134.
2- Jean-Philippe de Tonnac. Nadie acabará con los libros. Umberto Eco/Jean-Claude Carriere. Prologue.
Editorial Lumen. First Edition 2010, p. 10.
3- Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. Crimen y castigo. Editorial Planeta, S.A., 2003.
Editorial Altaya, S.A., 2005, p. 186.
Getting up on the right side, 2021. Mix media on canvas. 72 x 60 in.
Renaissance, 2023. Oil on canvas. 72 x 60 in.
Mother and Son, 2021. Oil on canvas. 56 x 46 in.
Emotional Rescue II, from the «Nowness series», 2023. Oil on hemp. 86 ½ x 71 in.
Emotional Rescue, 2023. Oil on canvas. 72 x 60 in.
Emotional Rescue III, From the «Nowness series», 2023. Oil on hemp. 86 ½ x 71 in.
Abundance, 2022. Oil on canvas. 56 x 46 in.
Outdoor Experiences III, 2020. Oil on canvas. 48 x 36 in.
Pollo Tropical, 2021. Oil on canvas. 93 x 78 in.
The advice once nature gave me IV, 2022. Oil on canvas. 80 x 73 in.
Resting, 2020. Oil on canvas. 30 x 30 in.
Galloping, 2022. Oil on canvas. 30 x 30 in.
The advice once nature gave me II, 2022. Oil on canvas. 78 x 78 in.
Becoming alive, 2019. Oil on canvas. 80 x 88 in.
In a good mood II, 2022. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 in.
Whispering VII, 2022. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 in.
Before beauty disappears III, 2020. Oil on canvas. 83 x 58 in.
Before Beauty Disappears, 2019. Oil on canvas. 89 x 84 in.