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Carlos Alfonzo

 (1950 - 1991)
Carlos Alfonzo was active/lived in Florida / Cuba.  Carlos Alfonzo is known for ceramics with painted iconography, animal and figure shapes.

Carlos Alfonzo

Biography from the Archives of askART


Alfonzo was born in Cuba in 1950.  He received a degree in art from the Academia San Alejandro in 1973 and in art history from the University of Havana four years later.  He taught and exhibited in Cuba in spite of extremely difficult conditions.  In 1980, after days spent crowded into the Peruvian Embassy, Alfonzo left by sea on a journey that was marred by violence.  He came to Miami during the Mariel boat lift in 1980 and lived and worked there until his death.

It took him two years to sort himself out before he returned to painting.  For years Alfonzo's paintings were bright, appealing, full of geometric shapes and symbols drawn from the Greek and Afro-Cuban mythology.  Then he changed direction radically, creating large dark-toned works that insist on the viewer's participation.  He took elements of classical modernism, mainly from Surrealism and Cubism with hints of Abstract Expressionism, and fermented them together into a wonderfully synthetic yet coherent concoction that is truly intoxicating.  His many images of sacrifice, violence and apocalypse refer finally to his descent into the inferno.  Alfonzo died of AIDS in 1991.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Valerie Gladstone in ARTnews, April 1990.
Thomas Mcevilley in Art in America, December, 1998
Elise Turner in ARTnews, March 1998

Biography from the Archives of askART
A Cuban artist who came to Miami in 1980 where he lived until his death from AIDS in 1991, he was a post-modernist painter who combined elements of Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. His work is an expression of his perceptions of the duality between the chaotic culture of Cuba and the more structured life in America.

He credited Jackson Pollock and Willem deKooning as his two main influences, and many of his images refer to his descent into the inferno of his disease.

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About  Carlos Alfonzo

Born:  1950 - Havana, Cuba
Died:   1991 - Miami, Florida
Known for:  ceramics with painted iconography, animal and figure shapes