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Eduardo Roca (CHOCO), enigmas a “flor de piel”

Eduardo Roca (CHOCO), enigmas in the open 

Last modified: January 23, 2023

Eduardo Roca (Choco) is like the graphic arts, a book full of surprises. He has the musical capacity to make variations with a theme up to the incredible; and his favorite images are the man and the woman, their world of things and the surrounding nature: figures, places and situations transmuted by his imagination to another plane that isn’t real. He is a master of the fineness of the line, the texture, and of the evocative form. And offers to his graphic/pictorial work an emotional intensity that disproves the lightness of his strokes. He has the telluric force of his race, which he puts in his work. In the mystery of the engraving, he shuffles his memory, the investigation…

Seeking for qualities in the most varied textures, like the archaeologist that investigates his essence in the interior of the earth, he has been able to generate throughout his engravings-paintings, indelible instants for those who contemplate them. Sometimes the color seems to emerge from other shade through transparence. His paintings have to be observed a second time when they begin to move this intimate universe that lives in us: the man, his feelings, the dreams. Because of their enigmatic character, the creations of Choco, - who studied at the School of Art Instructors in 1963 and at the National School of Art in 1970, and has a degree in History of Art from University of Havana -, require to be contemplated in silence.

The collection of his figures is constituted intelligently; but the most relevant aspect in his works is the imaginative force, his fantasy. Since his beginnings as engraver and draftsman he has excelled himself in an intensive and incessant work as painter. Dissimilar textures and numerous clean and continuous lines, or broken and stained, are used to enrich his drawing.
In Choco’s work, the highest merit lies in the Cuban atmosphere it encloses. The art is mysterious in its catalytic process to transform a substance into a different one. He has a style easily recognizable and very proper of him, which is the highest aspiration for an ARTIST.

Eduardo Roca, engraver, painter and draftsman (Santiago de Cuba, 1949) begins with the clearest tones, reserving the darkest to finish the painting. He works by shades and uses the color by transparence. His graphics are descriptive, with rigor in the construction of the drawing: the objects can be seen both from a short and from a long distance. In a piece of Choco, whether graphic or pictorial appears a great number of diverse transparent objects, and each one with a particular texture…

Since the beginnings of the 80's, and after passing through series as Macheteros (in which he made a mixture with the mambises) and the one from his time spent in Angola (which permitted him to recreate the African woman in his works and to reach a more synthetic composition, with figures of a symbolic value), the artist initiated a period that was projected up to the present day, in some characteristics, and where he enriches the engraving and drawing elements. Choco’s principal feature – either in engraving, drawing or painting - besides the cleanness, is the texture that stands out as nerves or veins; a whole subterranean world that breaths in the open. The images presented blurry to the eyes, as if they came from memories that were almost lost. While the line, the drawing, suggest a surrealist origin.

Toni Piñera
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Journalist for more than 30 years at the Granma newspaper, art and dance critic, professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro, curator of Cuban art exhibitions (former director of the La Acacia gallery, Havana), poet.

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