Raúl Acero, A Retrospective
February 23 – March 28, 2021
What is a calling?
Is it coyotes on a moonlit suburban street, or a cold western New York wind, tearing through your poor windows and door frames?
Do we find a calling in life, or does it find us? Does the calling finally let us find ourselves, and define some reason we stumble through a life?
And what of memories? Do we remember something or finally, with age, are we remembering a memory?
Questions, all these callings - these turns in the road, the pursuit of an image, a fugitive form, something just out of reach. There is a calling for work, to catch this thing, to create the form and the image from nothing and bridge the emptiness with materials.
From the vantage of the years – calls and responses.
I am an immigrant and the child of immigrants. My life as a café con leche brown person in this country has shaped that response, more than I had initially thought. The simple way to express that is to call it “identity”, but it turns out to be more than that. It is more a framing of individual experience in light of a universal experience. It is the calling of a single person in the tapestry of where we all are in the immense beauty of a galaxy, one with a few black holes at its center. It is a milky way of sweetness, bitterness and loss.
In my youth, becoming an artist never occurred to me. I had no idea anything like that existed. Still, I had the feeling of wobbling on a spinning planet, the feeling that there was more to it, that there were mysteries to life that required some sort of tool to figure out. It turned out the tools for me were the tools of art. The things that helped me most on that path were music and poetry. Poetry and music are the original artforms I think, and poetry is the music of words.
The work I put together in this small retrospective are a fraction of the objects I have made in response to the calling. It is impossible to really capture the whole thing, the struggle and the joy of living a maker’s life.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in New York City, Raúl is a sculptor and ceramic artist with expertise in a wide variety of materials and processes, including ceramics, sculpture, glass, painting, drawing, and mixed media. Also an accomplished and award-winning teacher, Raúl has taught at La Universidad InterAmericana in Puerto Rico, Parsons School of Design, Warren Wilson College, The Sage Colleges and, for 17 years, the University of Redlands. Raúl’s artwork is in a number of private and public collections, including the Instituto de Cultura, San Juan, Puerto Rico, The Asheville Art Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Universidad de Caldas in Colombia, and The University President’s Collection California Polytechnic Institute.