Puerto Rican Artist Gives Shape To World Chaos
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin
May 25, 2002
As if trying to prove an ineludible rule of nature, whose destructive force gives way to new beginnings, new cycles, and new creations, artists in the United States have found a source of inspiration in the devastation of Sept. 11, creating art in the midst of destruction and reshaping their perception of the world with a message of hope.
Sculptor Jeff Tritel created pendant, earrings, tie tacks, two different lapel pins, and a broach in a shape of brass balls to show the world that America has what it takes to keep on going.
During March and April, six New York City artists and architects used powerful searchlights to form two beams of light in the shape of the Twin Towers in an effort to fill the void forever left in the New York skyline.
And in Puerto Rico, local sculptor Luis Torruella also found an outlet for the impressions that worldwide tragedies and circumstances, including war on terrorism, unrest in the Middle East, and government corruption, have left on him.
His latest work on exhibition at the Galeria Botello until June 15, is composed of 10 sculptures, each bearing his trademark technique of using enamel on aluminum to create the illusion of different textures. Cement is also present in his new work.
"I like to play with that idea of doing in aluminum what cannot be done in wood. . .Its part of the game," he said.
Each piece is like a broken geometrical figure, some containing tiny silhouette of human beings while others contain pieces of mirrors.
"Within the general subject, each piece has its own place. There are totemic figures that are obvious allusions to the Twin Towers, sort of wounded and fractioned figures but that are still there and have their structure," Torruella said while comparing his work to a contained chaos.
Torruella emphasized the optimism he tried to convey in his work and said he believes that every bad situation has a silver lining.
"Thats what my work is all about: a new man facing himself and a new world, a necessary healing and unifying process," he said. "There will surely be a rebirth. We will unite as earthlings to give way to a healthy globalization. There will be new evolutions, introspections, reevaluations of priorities and a reorganization of values at individual and collective levels."
Also known for Ritmo de Fuego (Fire Rhythm), a piece he built in memory of a friend who died in an airplane accident, the renowned artist denied tragedy as a main part of his creative process.
"I am not that gloomy. I have sculpted pieces about the preservation of nature, Afro-Caribbean poems, dances, music everything depending on my own experiences and of what one channels and expresses as an artist," said Torruella, whos a husband and father of three girls.
At 35, Torruella has exhibited his work in many local art galleries, museums, and shopping centers, as well as in other countries like Spain, Costa Rica, and Russia. He has also won the Athanasios Demetrios Skours Prize 1987-88 and the Wise Fine Arts Award of Amherst College, Massachusetts.
For information on his current work, art lovers may visit Galeria Botello in Hato Rey or dial 787-754-7430.