It’s not an exaggeration to say that a trip to Havana often leads to the studio of Héctor Frank. The Cuban artist’s open workplace and the dozens—if not hundreds—of works within speak to the material restrictions of the nation and the creativity birthed from it. Frank often welcomes guests and shares his insights, but his decades-long career stretches beyond Cuba and into galleries, fairs and the homes of collectors around the world. For his fifth exhibition (and second solo one) at NYC‘s TOTH Gallery, Color de Cabezas, the artist continues on a path to redefine the human portrait.
“Each work is an introspection exercise in which I leave a lot in the hands of my subconscious,” Frank explains to us about the 17 large-scale paintings. The intellectually driven artist continues, “As a consequence, it is often a painful experience in whose process I am never aware of what the final expression will be. I only have color as a structure and this simple form [the portrait] from which I cannot get away.” In his abstraction of portraiture, Frank believes he finds “the sincerest reflection of what each person hides.”
Gallerist Bryant Toth champions the work of many Cuba-based artists in the US and globally. “The most rewarding part of this journey has been closely working with these artists—both in terms of representation and also the powerful artistic relationships, which have developed,” he says. “Through exchanging knowledge and guidance, this journey has been rewarding every step of the way. While exposing Héctor Frank’s work to new markets is the goal, inviting him to celebrate his work in person, working closely within the studio, feeling apart of the creation process has truly been the most powerful experience.”
Until the early 2000s, Frank was an electronics repairman who painted by night. Toth, and an increasing interest in Cuban art of the last few years, have propelled Frank’s to an international level. “This exhibition is more than a solo exhibition,” Toth says, “It reflects close to a decade of inspiration, collaboration, and friendship.” The resulting works captivate with Frank’s specific strokes of intuition and intensity.
Color de Cabeza will run through 10 November.
Images courtesy of Toth Gallery