Héctor Rafael Painter and educator. Born of Puerto Rican parents in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and raised in Puerto Rico. The artist has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Painting from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and a Master of Art Education from Universidad del Turabo. In 2019 Héctor Rafael was recognized for his artistic merit with the International Prize Botticelli at the Borghese Palace in Florence, Italy. He also received the International Prize Diego Velázquez during the Barcelona Biennial at the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern (MEAM) in Barcelona, Spain and the International Prize Artist of the Year 2019 at Teatro Sociale di Mantova in Mantua, Italy. His paintings have been included in exhibitions in Puerto Rico, New York, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Istanbul (Turkey), London (United Kingdom), Barcelona (Spain), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Lisbon (Portugal), Florence, Mantua and Venice (Italy). The artist’s work is part of prestigious private and public collections including Museo de Arte de Caguas, Museo de Arte Francisco Oller and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) in Chicago.
Héctor lives in Puerto Rico and works out of his studio in Cidra, Puerto Rico.
I create paintings that play with perception and preconceived ideas of the male and female form. They deconstruct and reconstruct the human body as a way of redefining masculinity and femininity. My paintings depict beings that overcome their fragmentation through their transfiguration; bodies that transcend time and space creating a link between the internal and external universe. The representation of sectioned and reconstructed nudes suggests sexualities that have been interrupted, manipulated, and magnified for public contemplation. The anatomical references merge into each other creating ambiguous sexual forms where male and female become one. The traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity are erased and the eyes of the spectator are opened to a new realm of possibilities.
The co-existence between anatomical and botanical references is evident in my paintings. They harmoniously share their importance in psychological compositions. The entities contain fragments of an environment that has been abused as much as the individuality of its inhabitants, but where organic beauty triumphs expanding through each canvas and maintaining the unifying continuity of the image.
My work of art promotes equity and functions as a hopeful invitation to inclusive and harmonious coexistence. They are images of luminous forms that emerge to delight us and suggest introspection; paintings that echo the uncontainable energy that revives, unifies, and transforms the universe. – Héctor Rafael
Héctor Rafael was interviewed and featured in TOROSIETE Magazine, July 2018. He also appears in TOROSIETE Magazine, January 2019 and TOROSIETE Magazine, August 2019.
Original Paintings from Héctor Rafael’s Exhibitions are available for purchase in our Museum Store.