Rafael Trelles

Rafael Trelles

Painter, printmaker, installation artist, and stage and costume designer. Trelles began studying painting under Julio Yort, a Catalan painter living in Puerto Rico. After completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico in 1980, he traveled throughout Europe. In 1983 he went to Mexico City to begin graduate studies at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (Academia San Carlos). For a time after that he lived in the Canary islands, where he completed a series of paintings called The Universal Tarot, and he returned to Puerto Rico in 1986. Since then he has dedicated himself to his work and to the art group El Alfil (Image and Word), which he co-founded in 1994. In his work he employs references to Surrealist Max Ernst and to mythology and worlld literature. His pictorial technique is impeccable, and the viewer is taken on a voyage to a fantastic and esoteric world of amazing characters in dreamlike settings, where solitude reigns. Recently he has done public art by “drawing” images with a pressure hose on walls, sidewalks and other surfaces, a genre he calls “urban graphic art.”
Source: Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

“I identify more with magical realism than surrealism. But I’m very exposed to my country’s nature and the development of myths from that nature. Magic is in my country. It is in everything that happens around me and, above all, in the sea.”
“Many of my images come from the same stain. I associate it with the current state of humanity, the fragmented view of reality. Thereby, I please myself in criticizing rationalism. Not least, in forgetting the name of things and see things as ‘it tabula rasa’. I think that this fragmentation helps the viewer break the dependence from perception of reality given through established concepts.”
“Of course, from the freedom with which I work, I try not to impose myself, but contribute to the intelligence of the work. For that the title is the key. Although I leave the work open to be understood, what I do often, led by the images themselves, is to write a poem on the back of the paintings”.
Source: Armando Álvarez Bravo, Art Critic. El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Florida

Current exhibitions: