Roberto Fabelo (b. 1950)
Roberto Fabelo (b. 1950)
Roberto Fabelo (b. 1950)
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Roberto Fabelo (b. 1950)

Cielo, tierra y mar

Details
Roberto Fabelo (b. 1950)
Cielo, tierra y mar
each signed, dated and titled 'Fabelo 2015 cielo tierra y mar' (lower edge)
acrylic on embroidered silk
61 x 144 in. (155 x 366 cm.) overall
Painted in 2015.
Triptych.
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist.

Lot Essay

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist, dated 20 May 2015.

Beginning his long artistic career in the 1970s as a draftsman illustrating imaginative ideas in styles inspired by the Old Masters, Fabelo quickly honed his skills to express contemporary concerns. Exploring myths, folklore and dreams, the 70-year-old artist has used caricature and symbolism to communicate a personal vision of life that has a universal appeal.
Gaining popularity for his mixed-media assemblages in the 1990s, he made altar-like self-portraits chock-full of eccentric hand-carved figures and illustrated with carnivalesque characters that were reminiscent of Joseph Cornell’s poetic box constructions. Likewise, he created multi-paneled, paintings on wood that featured scores of small caricatures brought together on door-like structures not unlike Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns imaginatively crafted combines.
Over the past 20 years, Fabelo has constructed massive sculptures and installations with readymade and enlarged kitchen commodities, akin to Arman’s accumulations of repeated products forming something new and Claes Oldenburg’s playful Pop Art blow-ups of commonplace objects. And like the Indian contemporary artist Subodh Gupta and Emirati artist Hassan Sharif, Fabelo has employed ordinary household objects to comment on consumerism, but while the former artists used new goods he chose to resurrect the worn and recycled to represent the characteristic Cuban way of life.
Equally Dadaist and Surrealist in their point of departure, his assemblages using found objects are brought together through poetic juxtapositions, and he’s also explored these types of visual puns and narratives in highly imaginative works on paper and paintings on decoratively embroidered silk. His 2015 triptych Cielo, tierra y mar is one of his standout paintings on silk. Rendered in acrylic on silk with overall patterns of floral and dot motives, the triptych consists of three Arcimboldo-style portraits of a young woman whose hair and clothing are composed from creatures that metaphorically represent the skies, lands and seas.
The first femme fatale’s hair is woven with intricately drawn images of various variety of birds, while her clothing looks like feathers. The second panel features the woman’s curly locks shaped from realistic depictions of rhinoceros—a recurring symbol in his work—that are intermixed like one of M.C. Escher’s puzzling graphic pieces. And the third part of the triptych portrays mermaids and shells interlocked in a sensual scenario, while the figure’s blouse becomes an encompassing conch shell.
Similar to the effect that Sigmar Polke has achieved from painting on bed sheets, the ornamental surface provides a type of veil that distances the viewer from the subject, thus making it even more desirable. The floral patterns also add a level of opulence and elegance to Fabelo’s otherwise dreamlike and disconcerting world, where the artist cleverly turns thoughts of nature and mythology into art.
Paul Laster, art critic, editor, curator and lecturer
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