Written by Nicole Jeffords, on August 7, 2013, on her blog "Art Profiler: Oil & Psychological Portraiture by Nicole Jeffords."
My friend, Dr. Emil Shusterman, and I decided to check out a show called “Fresh Black Paint: Memories of Cuba” that opened this past Saturday night (August 3) at New East Arts Gallery, 1601 East Fifth Street (http://www.diversearts.org/NEAGallery). Neither of us had ever been there before and we had a blast. First of all the gallery sits right by the train track running along East Fifth and since the bar was set up outside on the sidewalk, the party spilled onto the street.
There were chairs pulled up and some seriously talented drummers playing. Every time one of those 2-car metro trains passed by (there must have been at least four in the hour and a half we were there, whoo-wee) everyone cheered and waved.
Ron Horne (poet, singer, musician)
NEA is a small gallery with a big heart dedicated to the work of predominantly Austin-based African American artists. It is part of DiverseArts, a non-profit multi-disciplinary cultural organization, run by Harold McMillan, who is the brain behind the project.
Harold McMillian and Luis Abreux
Luis Abreux, the gentleman in the pale blue shirt on the right, is a Cuban refugee painter who lives in Austin, and who “brings us a mental universe not very well-known so far, it is the mental universe of his land, an island where painting is not a luxury but a thing that emerges from under the stones, among the trees and above the roofs of Havana.”
Mr. Abreux’s work is in part playful, in part dark, even macabre, like a carnival with grinning masked figures up to no good. Some pieces brought to mind the work of the Belgian painter, James Ensor.
Others had a restrained sweetness and were softer, perhaps a bit nostalgic.
Luis talking about his work at the show.
Dr. Emil Shusterman talking about Luis’s work with Ron, the drummer in white, at the show.
A young man learning about Luis’s work at the show.
I advise you to check out Luis’s work at www.abreux.com. While it may not appeal to everyone, some of the paintings, particularly those featured in Private Collections, are pretty fab.
I would also recommend a trip to New East Arts Gallery. Harold McMillan is for sure one of the more interesting characters in the Austin arts and music scene. He knows how to throw a good party, and he’s got some pieces worth looking at on his walls.
Painting by Carla “Nada” Nickerson, She is an Austin painter, illustrator, actress/singer.