Los Angeles

José Luis Cuevas

Occidental College

Cuevas speaks of the human condition through fantasy and grotesquery. He can honestly be likened to the Goya of the Sleep of Reason or to Bosch, or to others who made images of the wild forces that make man his own most devastating parody. To cite Cuevas’ an­cestors is not unfair for he has a for­midable talent as a draftsman that al­lows him to support many influences and still remain intact. Several pages of studies, each containing about 40 fig­ures, are brilliant in their grasp of or­ganic structure and the ways in which this structure can be exploited. In the “Franco” series he pushes his vocabu­lary beyond the isolated figure into a more total compositional statement and in doing so seems to lose the compelling sense of focus the isolated figures have. He ranges from the small frighteningly “interior” portraits of Kafka to the mul­tiple image of the Hombre Enclaus­trado; from the marvelously intimate Las Flores de Mal to the bombast of the “Franco” series; all things that can give form to the pressures of the spirit. He depicts them well, but in a way, his demons are not the demons of our age; this human comedy is some Gothic hold­over, that, because of its period trap­pings, allow us to avoid seeing the gro­tesques as ourselves and our vanities.

Douglas McClellan