Roberto Fabelo

Roberto Fabelo, Art between Reality and Fantasy

Last modified: January 9, 2023

A strong effect is caused by his pieces. In a manner that is almost academic in terms of the traditional applications of this domain, he superimposes the ferocity of a free and expressive stroke. The figures emerge: the animals become more human; men acquire, unwittingly, animal characteristics; the plans are confused. It is reality/fantasy.

In spite of the difficulties of the watercolor, Roberto Fabelo (Camagüey, 1950) has always been much immersed in it, because for him it is interesting and rich to communicate certain states and experiences. This watery, transparent, brilliant paint allows him to create incredible and different effects. It constitutes a form of expression, rather frequent in his work; although since the end of the last century, the creator approached to the painting. He creates oil paintings where this expressionist-surrealist-fantastic world appears; a world that is typical of his personal work, in which there are solutions very close to …watercolor. Since, after much painting, and using materials like paper and cardstock, where the color has been the protagonist of his stories, the same treated subjects claimed for watercolor. Although later on he understood he needed another material: “That’s why I began to confront to woods and oil canvas”, said the creator.

This extraordinary draftsman and watercolorist, National Prize of Plastic Arts 2004, who introduces us in a rich world of human impressions, has demonstrated that without complex to face drawing and oil, the well done watercolor remains attractive nowadays. Using a rapid stroke, he introduces the fantasy and penetrates by other side of the thematic between satirical and demoniac, between historical and oneiric, lyrical and symbolic in which he makes incursions from a long time ago. In his illustrations some forms are revealed, forms that oscillate between Renaissance and baroque, romantic and expressionist.

To go out from the two-dimensional field, the artist, who is graduated from the National School of Art (1976) and from the Superior Institute of Art (Havana, 1981), “constructs” little polychrome sculptures, retables and rustic mosaics, where his characters also breathe. It is as if they come out from the canvas and cardstocks looking for the exterior freedom. They are faces with expressionist features, as if they were extracted from their walks through the streets since he has always had the intention to continue to create “portraits” of the world, and to make a gallery of images from reality. He examines a lot the persons he meets on the way, and in the wood they reach another dimension. He always likes to open new doors.
In this transit state towards the mastery of things, towards the knowledge, a philosophy which he recognizes that is a very important mechanism to rejuvenate and renovate constantly, Fabelo creates; because it is there where the most unusual and interesting worries and emotions are felt and registered. His work is a kind of collage of memories/persons/objects from different origin that motivate him. And he draws and draws without stopping, so he accumulates his folders that constitute his well saved bank of images. All of his work comes from these folders. Roberto Fabelo in all this time has gone, with his work, through the theater of life, which he has deeply breathed, because nothing is extraneous for him. He is a perfect observer, a psychologist of the human symbology, a world maker.

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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