I am susceptible to everything that determines human consciousness and history. Though living in the digital era, I reserve great admiration for the world created by mankind from its beginnings: I am equally impressed by a bison painted in the depth of a cave, a cathedral, an opera, or a couture suit. My interest in topics of universal history, poetry and ancient music is essential to the selection of the characters that define my work.
Oil painting is and will always be my greatest ambition. I usually start a new piece from an intricate drawing, gradually covering the canvas with successive layers of translucent paint and employing various oils and varnishes until accomplishing high degree of realism. One of my goals is the perdurability of my work over time. During my years as a student, I closely worked with and learned from specialists on conservation and restoration of easel paintings, and that acquired knowledge has become an intrinsic requirement in the creation of my paintings.
I particularly admire Jan van Eyck and Johannes Vermeer, but I am also attracted to the work of twentieth century artists like Kent Bellows and Chuck Close. Choosing the portrait and figurative representation as my forms of expression is my attempt to approach such masters of art history. On the other hand, the subject of fashion and commercial photograph lends my work immediate modernity, making my artistic discourse a personal testimony of this era of high resolution images, while at the same time attempting to convey the timelessness and contemporaneity of universal themes and myths of human consciousness. Though employing a number of diverse photographic images, my subjectivity saves me from the mere photographic imitation when I distort those images to offer the illusion of a model directly extracted from a nonexistent reality and turn our immediate and well-known world into a strange and new semblance, a kind of alter ego of those landscapes, things, and persons that comprise it.
Leonardo Cuervo is a Fantastic Realism painter interested in exploring the human figure and bringing out its unsettling side. As reflected in his 2014 solo show In Fabula at the Garboushian Gallery in Los Angeles, Cuervo's work is "infused with all things fantastical and esoteric, leaving the reality of society and exploring the unreal world in our imagination". He started as an engraving student at the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts, in Havana, Cuba, but was immediately drawn to traditional oil painting techniques. In Havana, Cuervo presented solo shows in prestigious institutions like the Gallery Palace of Lombillo, the Wallonia Cultural Center, both in Havana Historical Center, and the Gallery Pequeño Espacio of the National Council of Visual Arts, and participated in collective exhibitions at institutions like the Center for the Development of Visual Arts, Havana, Cuba, and the Blue Circle Gallery, Chicago, USA. His early work, influenced by the culture developed during the XIV and XVII centuries, led him to present solo exhibitions at the Contrast-Gallery and the Galerie Yannick David, in Brussels, Belgium. Cuervo's origins as engraver motivated him to also embrace pencil drawing as a complete form of expression. His graphite work was recently selected for the 2014 collective show PaperWorks II at the Upstream Gallery in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York. Cuervo lives and paints in California since 2012.View Curriculum Vitae
Oils and Drawings by Leonardo Cuervo, Novermber 1 - 30, 2016, Wente Vineyards, Livermore CA.
Judge for the 8th Annual Figurative Art Exhibition, Livermore Art Association, June 4 - 12, 2016, Bothwell Arts Center.
Fresh Works 6th Annual Open Juried Exhibition, April 30 - June 4, 2016, The Harrington Gallery at the Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton, CA. Juror Richard Ambrose.
Anthology 2015, December 3 - 31, 2015, Van Der Plas Gallery, New York.
Hear Music, See Art, May 28 - September 27, 2015, New Museum Los Gatos.
Artist Talk at NUMU Los Gatos: A Conversation with Leonardo Cuervo, August 27, 2015, 6:30-7:30 pm
Real Surreal, September 2 - 27, 2014, Sandra Lee Gallery.
In Fabula, March 22 - April 30, 2014, Garboushian Gallery.
Evan Senn: Leonardo Cuervo. Artillery Magazine, May/June 2014.
Estrella Díaz: Do not be swayed by the empty vastness (No dejarse llevar por la inmensidad vacía). La Jiribilla, 2010.
María Grant: Leonardo Cuervo: Betraying the image (Leonardo Cuervo: Traicionar la imagen). Magazine Opus Habana, Vol. XXIV/No. 33, Breviary, 2009.
Argel Calcines: The Equation of Leonardo Cuervo (La Ecuación de Leonardo Cuervo). Magazine Opus Habana, Vol. XII/No. 1, Breviary, 2009.
Jorge R. Bermúdez: Post-medieval Post-Biennial (Pos-medievales Pos-Bienal). Magazine Opus Habana, Vol. VIII/No.1, Breviary; and La Jiribilla, 2004.
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