Deep study

The Arts

September 1, 2020



Carlos Estévez’s paintings, ceramics and collages — on view at LaCa Projects this fall — are a cerebral exploration of life.

By Grace Cote

Carlos Estévez was walking along the beach with friends, collecting shells, sea fans and other treasures from the shore. While he considered these finds, the special products of an endless blue ocean, it occurred to him that the sea is a metaphor for life: It is immense and full of mysteries, like the path of life, and our journeys are dictated by how we navigate those unknowns. Every route is individual and unique to the person walking it. 

This meditation was the springboard for Estévez’s work that will be on view this fall at LaCa Projects. Beachcomber consists of 50 paintings, drawings, installations, sculptures, collages and ceramics by the Cuban-American artist. Estévez hopes to project and encourage a contemplative spirit by “calling the viewer’s attention to the beauty and meaning of what is around us,” he says. 

His iconography is abstract but very intricate and full of line work. Familiar shapes, like animals and humans, are composed of cogs and machine parts. The work is highly detailed, akin to architectural drawings, maps, automatons or antique anatomical studies. 

Ceremonial Phone, 
2016, mixed media
Ceremonial phone, 2016, mixed media

The term “studies” is one Estévez might embrace. “Art for me is a learning process,” he says. “It is my way of understanding life.” Estévez is a big reader, mainly philosophy, and after intaking an idea, he lets it marinate in his thoughts: “I use it as fuel for my brain,” he says. His interpretation becomes the inspiration for his work, which takes many forms.  

The past few years have been busy for the Miami-based artist, with exhibitions at Tucson Museum of Art, The Lowe Art Museum in Miami, and in early 2020, an exhibition of ceramic work at UNC Charlotte’s Storrs Gallery. He is also a 2019-2020 recipient of the Cintas Foundation Fellowship in Visual Arts, which supports Cuban or Cuban-born artists. This exhibition is Estévez’s third with the gallery and marks his fifth anniversary as a LaCa artist.   SP

Beachcomber runs Sept. 18 – Jan. 16. An opening reception will be held Sept. 18 from 3 – 8 p.m. Face masks are strongly recommended.1429 Bryant Street, lacaprojects.com.

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