Carlos Ortiz: Dancin'

On exhibit from January 11 - February 23

El Taller Latino Americano’s Grady Alexis Gallery presents "Dancin", a series of paintings showcasing the work of Latin artist Carlos Ortiz. In the series, Ortiz explores the themes of family heritage, and community.

Ortiz says the title of his exhibition is derived from the style he uses to paint. "I selected ‘Dancin’ as the general title for the work I do because it involves a lot of physicality and movement and spontaneity of movement," he explains. Ortiz cites an early introduction to expressionistic artists as well as involvement in the Salsa music scene of the late 60’s and early 70’s as influencing factors regarding his fluid, rapid painting style. Concerning Salsa music, Ortiz explicates that the whole idea of synchronicity of cultures, of rhythms, of colors, of movement all taking the form for a dance was influential."

Exemplifying this idea is a large mural that will be present at the "Dancin" exhibition consisting of overlapping images of faces, hands, and people dancing. Ortiz says the mural, like most of his work, represents the importance of community, and is meant to radiate a positive energy and sense of rhythm. This sense of community is not limited to the people on the canvas though, says Ortiz. I like to play music when I show my work as well and I like it to be a community-building experience, not just something where you go to a museum and see a piece on the wall."

Other works by Ortiz depict tropical scenes. These, he says, are in honor of his parents and their Caribbean roots. "The Caribbean is such that there is so much movement, rhythm and it’s all one big carnival," Ortiz explains. "That whole thing is a part of my artwork that I always pay homage to and it´s my essence."

Carlos Ortiz currently presides as Assistant Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University, yet another influence that has helped to shape his work. But while Ortiz draws inspiration for his art from many places, his motivation to paint is simple. "I think the painting process in itself inspires me," he says. “I love to be in the studio working."

Read more about Carlos Ortiz at Studio International.