The Dominican landscape in the work of Guillo Pérez

When we approach to contemplate the works of the plastic artist Guillo Pérez, a sense of peace is born. Guillo, knew how to conjugate an atmosphere of colors in a particular way.

We believe that its most distinctive seal is having visually achieved a language that denoted the Caribbean landscape through a synchrony of colors.

Born in the Espaillat province, in the municipality of Moca, this architect developed all his training in Santiago de los Caballeros. In this city he studied painting at the School of Fine Arts, and later in the workshop of the prominent painter Yoryi Morel, with whom he worked the landscape. He also trained in violin and music theory. He was a photographer and muralist. His real name was Guillermo Esteban Pérez Chacón.

From 1952 he was appointed professor of the National School of Fine Arts of Santiago, later became director of the same. In a first stage, Pérez's creations were structured in abstract language, then he assumed the figurative as a vehicle of expression.

In the beginning, he painted on any table, in a patio and without a fixed time, then he acquired discipline, which consolidated him more and more in the techniques of painting. 

In 1955 he settled in Santo Domingo and in that same year he participated in the realization of the murals for the Peace Fair. His first solo exhibition was held at 1958 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. From that moment on, Guillo's career was constantly growing: participating in biennials and exhibiting his works in different individual and collective exhibitions, both at home and abroad.

The master of painting created in 1984, the school that bears his name and that became a training academy for future professionals of the visual arts.

His compositions deserved different distinctions throughout his visual production. Between which they stand out: Second prize of painting in the I Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, with its composition Metamorphosis. In the second call of this contest, made in 1966, won the award in the same category with Tribute to El Greco. He was the first Dominican artist to be awarded at the International Painting Festival of Cagnes-sur Mer, in France. Also the first to exhibit in the Holy Land, Jerusalem. In the 2012 year the Corripio Foundation recognized him in the category of Art.

Abstraction was his first visual discursive form. This expressive way allowed him to approach varied themes. On this topic he said: "I was an abstract painter and highly praised, by the way. I had a stage in which I experimented in abstract painting with a lot of constancy because as an artist I never rejected any form ".

The natural landscape of Pérez: the figurative.

In the second period of his creative production he worked figuration; This was expressed through landscaping. The nature captured by this creator was rural. The scenarios of the Cibao; its plantations, its crops and its people. In his canvases, the country is perceived as an ethnic distinctive of the valleys of the northern part of the country.

Roosters were a constant in their creations. In this regard, he stated: "The roosters are an element that are incorporated later into my painting, but it is not the central theme".

His real motivations when creating, on his favorite subjects, he has expressed: "My real thematic axis is the sugar cane with the ingenuity and everything that has to do with the harvest, my root as an artist is a peasant and it is in the sugar world, I have that universe of wisdom from the Cibao countryside that I rehearsed with Yoryi Morel. "

The artist was able to reflect not only an image that denotes the Caribbean, but also his feelings to the space that surrounded him; this is how a landscape ceases to be a spatial description, to become a sign of identity, not only of an area, but of a whole country and a region, and of an era.

Play of light

The pieces are like daydreams. The use of contrasts in colors gives rise to mountains, fields, bateyes, sunsets, and sunrises. The palm trees accompany the oxen that work the land, the hallways as a shelter to store the food harvested or to be sown, the machete or the polish that the worker uses to clean the land. The cart, the man tilling the land are part of its iconography. But, all these elements are more than figures, they are more than lines; These designs are the features that show its close relationship with peasant life, and with nature in its essence. This discourse of flashes of greens, yellows and blues perfectly recreates the tones of the Caribbean, and it is when color becomes something more than ink, and becomes the link between the artist and his work; between the creator and his cultural frame of reference.

Guillo will forever be a symbol of Dominicanness; his works are a tribute to nature and the human in their most harmonized relationship.

Arlyn Abreu
Social communicator