Lydia Rubio: Alphabet of Gestures
by Enrico Mario Santí

Review Magazine of the Americas Society NY, 2015

Enrico Mario Santí is the William T. Bryan Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky, a scholar of Latin American and Comparative Literature, and a frequent art critic. His latest book is Enduring Cuba, and Other Essays, forthcoming.

For the past thirty-five years, the artist Lydia Rubio has worked with an overall premise: art is a mystery whose solution can be as desirable as it is elusive. No sooner do we begin unraveling one of its clues than it poses other mysteries: cutting off one branch makes a myriad of others sprout. While cutting and pruning, spectators must decode. In this, Rubio proceeds like a postmodern Gnostic, intent on pursuing dispersed clues of a hermetic secret and organizing themes according to a formal strategy of fragments, structured in series that spawn paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints—duly accompanied by diaries, maps, notes, even doodles. The series are ruled, in turn, by insights into a correspondence with conceptual codes that range from the letters of the alphabet to the four elements, cardinal points, and even gods of multicultural pantheons. Taken piecemeal, each form constitutes a clue for a plot whose meaning may well be lost. In the course of our reading, the plot ?s formal beauty snares us, seducing us into further speculation about questions that encompass Rubio’s personal obsessions: exile, nature, personal identity; or else, the links among image, objects, and language. [ READ FULL REVIEW]


Each month Vamp and Tramp changes the portal page on their web site. They are featuring “Bougainvillea” this month.

During the month of October they are featuring work by artists based in Latin American countries. They have included Extanjera.

painting hand

On a trip to Rajasthan, I visited the Sanskrit School for Children in Chanoud Garh. With the help of the village painter and inspired by figures of animals and plants commonly used in Indian art, I completed a mural piece of 300 cm x 400 cm. The piece will be used to teach words and shapes to elementary school children.

The journal was done during a trip to Peru in 2012, June 6 to the 16th.
13.5 inches by 9 inches, 44 pages Cover Japanese Paper with Peruvian ribbon,
Handbound by artist,  Amalfi handmade paper and vellum, watercolor and ink.

Available at Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.

DSC 0566 DSC 0565El

Parque de la 79

This series of 30 works, drawings and paintings, is based on observations over the past one and one-half years of daily life in the park across from my apartment in Bogota: the park on 79th, a magical place.

Its scale, simple geometry, landscaping, and location in an urban center isolated from the hustle and bustle, are features that transform it into a pool-like park or carpet-like park, a stage inhabited by the community that surrounds it, its neighbors, office workers, lovers, housekeepers, guards and, of course, its dogs: Yuki, Mia, Fango and Lola, Ramon, Shiloh, Woody and Lina.

I selected as characters dogs, friends and trees, and used a circular, repetitive narrative.  There are references to George Seurat’s “Sunday at the Grande Jatte,” to that peaceful bourgeois world now in the process of extinction.  As I observed from my fourth-floor apartment, I discovered in the park on 79th a marvelous reality, the poetic spirit of Bogota.

This series is the testimony of a visitor to that magical place.

El Parque de la 79

Esta serie de 30 obras, dibujo y pintura, esta basada en mis observaciones durante el ultimo ano y medio de la vida cotidiana en el parque situado frente a mi apartamento en Bogota:

el parque de la 79, para mi un lugar mágico.

Su escala, su simpleza geométrica y paisajística, ubicado en el centro urbano y alejado de su ruido, son factores que lo transforman en “parque-piscina” o “parque-alfombra”, un escenario habitado por toda la comunidad que lo rodea, los vecinos, oficinistas, amantes, empleadas, guardias y, claro, los perros del parque:  Yuki, Mia, Fango and Lola, Ramon, Shiloh, Woody and Lina

Utilizando una narrativa circular y repetitiva, he escogido personajes, entre perros, amigos y arboles. Hay referencias a la obra de George Seurat, “El Domingo en la Grande Jatte”, a ese mundo apacible y burgués, ya desapareciendo. Contemplando al parque desde el cuarto piso, descubrí en el Parque de la 79 lo real maravilloso, la otra parte del alma de Bogota.

Queda mi obra como un testimonio de un visitante.



Lydia Rubio was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up there during the 1950’s. She has strong memories of her grandmother, who was an artist, and has honored their relationship in the painting, She Painted Landscapes, a dazzling trompe l’oeil work which undercuts its myriad of illusionistic details with both dramatic shifts in scale and open-ended juxtapositions. In She Painted Landscapes, Rubio combines fragments of ordinary reality with the mysterious, often multiple narratives underlying one’s dreams, with the pull of both memory and imagination. Everything jostles together. The viewer cannot say whether the painting is of a dreamscape inhabited by fragments of memory and reality or a realist depiction haunted by memory and fragments recalled from different dreams. Such is the primal power of Rubio’s art; it calls the ordinary into question, as well as compels us to examine our belief that our everyday life is stable enough to withstand change, and that the earth we walk on is solid and dependable. Read the [FULL ARTICLE}



Non-Traditional Careers