Gallery hosts last night of art show; Arts Trolley makes rounds

Acrylic on canvas, courtesy of Betty Soto Sanchez

Hostos Community College’s Longwood Art Gallery will hold a closing reception for an

exhibit of the paintings of Jorge Soto Sanchez on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 9 –

coinciding with the First Wednesday Bronx Trolley. The late Nuyorican artist is getting

his first major exhibition, titled “Homenaje,” in almost 40 years. For Longwood

curators, his work is a great example to current Hostos students as someone who

represents them culturally, and was able to break through and make his mark.

“I think students like the fact that he is one of them. They see this Tieno and African

imagery and they can relate to it,” explained Juanita Lanzo, the director and curator of

Longwood Arts Project, describing the cultural significance of Sanchez to Hostos

students. “They can see the hard work in this because in a time when this type of work

wasn’t considered pretty, he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”

Sanchez’s work is derived partially from his love of anatomy. Many of his paintings are

of people in the nude, and he pays special attention to the lines of muscle. He gives

complete detail to each body part, each distinctively painted and drawn, evidence of his

early study of anatomy.

Sanchez was a New York native, born in East Harlem in 1947, and his family moved to

the South Bronx when he was 5. His love of art was inspired by his environment. He

painted what he saw in the people around him. His work shows women with curves, as

well as the landscapes and settings of Puerto Rico. In fourth grade, Sanchez was

recognized for his talent and given a scholarship to the Saks Fifth Avenue department

store art program. The store, known today for carrying luxury brands, was once home

for budding artists who needed a place to hone their talents. He nurtured his craft at a

time when people of his ethnic background weren’t regularly given the opportunity.

According to the gallery’s press release, he participated in a collective of Puerto Rican

artists in the 1970s, Taller Boricua, “whose mission is using art as a tool for education

and community building through exhibitions, literary readings, dances, festivals and

free art classes.”

He was devoted to uncovering his ancestral roots, which is what brought to him to

admire Puerto Rican artists Jose Campeche and Francisco Oller, whose images he used

in his own work. The exhibit will include “El velorio de Oller en Nueva York,” after the

iconic work of Oller, as well as “Todo bien en America” and “El Señor Gobernador.”

This exhibit is the largest ever of Sanchez’s work, according to Lanzo, with 14 pieces in

two rooms. For more information: 718-518-6728 or email longwood@bronxarts.org.

This Wednesday’s reception coincides with the Bronx Trolley, which will start at the

Longwood Art Gallery, making stops at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Bronx

Documentary Center, an art show at the Metropolitan College of New York,

BronxArtsSpace, LDR Studio and Gallery, and Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen on Lincoln

Avenue. For more information: trolley@bronxarts.org or call 718-931-9500 x33.

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