In 1998, I returned to Cuba for the first time in 36 years. I experienced the real difference between “nostalgia” and “reality.” Apart from the Balsas Series, my work for the last 15 years had dealt with a romantic vision of the past and the present. The work fulfilled my need to reconnect with my culture while still trying to relate it to the present. The work had brought a great deal of fulfillment and it provided a sense of spirituality to my everyday life.
After that trip to Cuba, I saw everything around me quite differently. I still found value in the work I had done but it was from a completely new perspective. Apart from the trip, I was also ending two major series of works, putting together a complicated installation, preparing to install three solo shows simultaneously and was moving into a new house and studio. I knew that I was at a pivotal point in my artistic career. After all the chaos subsided, I realized that this was a perfect time to carefully examine the work and the future.
I decided it was time to move in another direction. At first, I wasn’t sure what that next series would be but I knew that it could not be about Cuba any longer. I had to gather my thoughts about the past work and see if there was anything new I could bring to it. I also realized that most things in life were cyclical and that I might return to examine issues related to Cuba again but it would be from a new perspective.
At that moment, I knew that I would have to go in a completely different direction to completely separate myself from the past work and begin to investigate new intellectual directions. A short time later, my answer was clear and I was very excited to begin the series. The new work would combine my interest in art history, biology, contemporary society’s connections to our environment, the lost artistic notion of regionalism and angling art.
It all seemed very clear. As most of our social and economic reliance had moved to an urban setting, the connection between nature and culture in contemporary society seemed to have been lost over the last few generations. This series would try to mend these lost connections by presenting paintings of fish and landscapes that were characteristic to a specific region and that were local to the exhibition site. While the regions are specific, the issues raised would be universal.