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Coral Gables Gallery Night: Juan Carlos Mirabal -- Gables
The Lost Steps by Juan Carlos Mirabal
"The passion a city awakens, often portrayed in song, theater, film, literature, poetry, and architecture, from different points of view, creates for many artists a singular problem brought about by that very mystical and spiritual identity. Often the theme and conflict of universal obsessions, it emanates from the subjectivity of the creative eye which reflects illusion, longing, adoration, or disillusionment. Cities never leave one cold. As they are lived and traveled, cities establish emotional relations, at times even unconsciously, that feed passions. This holds true even for those we do not wish to remember. It is like when you love somebody. We do not love cities because they are beautiful; they are beautiful because we love them.
The work of Juan C. Mirabal generates clear sentiments. His photographs are like flashes of memory refusing to dim. They are exaltations of his own city, or perhaps a collage of cities, both for him who looks for himself in the scenes he inhabits and inhabited and for those who feel moved by the profound drama of his work and the richness of his vision. It is precisely at that juncture where the true value of his art resides.
Mirabal does not use light; he paints with it. That same light is the very possibility to capture the moment, the evanescent. Scenes and situations are transformed according to that light of one's own perception, be it the meager, fragile light of despair or the loving light that moves us and envelops us.
There remains an uncertainty in crossroads, in the crowded corner undaunted by the daily traffic of the city. These buildings whose stories repeat, again and again, towards infinity, reveal how memory is often redundant. They are signs announcing the inevitable birth of the city. Only the crossroads—the deviations—impose a true halt. It is the moment in which we are saved from the temptation of accepting the linearity and fatalism of history.
The grandiose, faded facades, seen through the lens of the artist, more than speaking to the implacable march of time and adversity, become universes not intimate but intimist, made of solid and contrasting colors where color is a daring accomplice that proclaims how the human spirit emanates and trembles with despair and hope, as well as other deep and contrasting emotions with the power to transform.
Mirabal is the photographer of cities. Yet more than photograph them, he constructs them; cities, after all, are made primarily by desires, not by bricks. This is so perhaps because—as Italo Calvino well knows—the best cities are those that we do not inhabit." – Rafael Lopez-Senra