Hulda Guzmán


watercolor ink and acrylic gouache on cedar plywood
three parts, 48 x 26 inches each; overall, 48 x 78 inches

Hulda Guzmán was born in 1984, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She lives and works between Santo Domingo and the rainforest-covered mountains of Samaná, on the country’s northeast coast.

Guzmán’s paintings are populated by a technicolor cast of humans, animals, anthropomorphic plants and imaginary creatures. Employing distinct architectural locations and spatial tricks such as mise en abîme, her narratives occupy contradictory, dreamlike realities. Characters lounge on ambrosial shores beside derelict flats, join dancefloors that spill into the rainforest and chase demons through chic interiors. Though rooted in Guzmán’s liberal childhood, these wittily painted gatherings also reflect her experiences of the artistic community in Samaná.

Echoing the paradisial fantasies of Henri Rousseau and Paul Gauguin, Guzmán frequently interrogates imagery connected with her Caribbean heritage. The modernist style of her sparse interiors represents “a metaphor for human order,” Cathryn Drake explains in ArtForum. It is “a reflection of the commercial exchange of goods around the globe, the most insidious form of colonization.” These allusions to imperialist history emerge in contrast to the natural landscape, opposing mercenary tendencies with hints of a transcendent perspective.

[excerpted from Stephen Friedman Gallery website:]

Guzmán’s work is included in the permanent collections of He Art Museum (HEM), Guangdong; ICA, Miami; SFMoMA, San Francisco; Dallas Museum of Art; LACMA, Los Angeles; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Museu de Arte de São Paulo; and Centro Leon Jimenes, Puerto Rico, among others, and her work has been featured in the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.