Hulda Guzmán (b. 1984, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) employs her tropical surroundings to illustrate her exploration of perspective and reality. Guzmán renders a world in which children, adults, animals, plants, and invented creatures alike come together to dance, lounge, congregate, share secrets, and play—all colored and enriched by embracing nature and celebrated through the act of painting.
Guzmán received a BA from Altos de Chavón School of Design in the Dominican Republic and went on to study photography and mural painting at the National School of Visual Arts, Mexico. Her work is included in the permanent collections of Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; Centro Leon Jimenes; Casa Cortes Foundation; Antonio Murzi Collection; and Kadist Foundation. Guzmán has been featured in the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Guzmán has shown with Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY; Dio Horia Gallery, Mykonos; Arte BA, Buenos Aires; Galería Machete, Mexico City; Gallery Ariane Paffrath, Dusseldorf; and at institutions such as Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo; the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Museo de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Costa Rica; and Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.
Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen is her first in the United States since [the 58th Venice Biennale], and it finds her turning, mostly, to views around her studio, where she was confined during COVID quarantine. It’s a breathtaking retreat. From the artist’s window, palm trees spread out over lush tropical hills. Garden pathways wind through forests where children, birds, and animals peer through thick trees. Guzmán’s work recalls Henri Rousseau’s in its naïve, mystical depictions of forest creatures and foliage. But her most exhilarating landscapes also make me think of Lucas Arruda, who inexplicably transforms the unyielding Brazilian Amazon into placid fields like Mark Rothko paintings. As does Arruda, Guzmán deftly invites a kind spiritual awakening in her vibrant forest scenes.
Tropical vistas, mise-en-abyme effects, and images of a plump cat are among the many lush pleasures in this young Dominican painter’s exhibition “my flora, my fauna,” at the Alexander Berggruen gallery. Guzmán’s colorful works, in acrylic gouache, depict a surreal world in which domestic interiors spill into jungle landscapes.
In Hulda Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen in New York, paintings of figures, flora, and fauna from the Dominican Republic depict an artist exploring reality from multiple perspectives. The paintings, at times featuring the artist, her cat, and conjured-up creatures, are large, while the figures within are usually small, basking in the warm hues of the Dominican light. In self-portraits, Guzmán unfolds a scene from various points of view, bringing reflective opportunities to the forefront. As an optimistic response to the anthropocene–an era marked by the effect of humans on the environment–the artist paints nature’s omnipresence in a scale that is overwhelming. A feeling of acuity and gumption is present. After studies at the Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic, Guzmán furthered her schooling in photography and mural painting at the National School of Visual Arts in Mexico which layered complexity to her technique. Born in 1984 in Santo Domingo, Guzmán was featured in the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. GARAGE caught up with the artist about her current show, while she was at her rural ocean-side studio.
The second show at this new gallery, helmed by a third-generation art dealer, impresses with a trio of exciting painters. Guzmán, who is from the Dominican Republic, paints intricate vistas that nod to Mexican folk art. In “wednesday morning,” an expanse of tropical foliage canopies a crisply detailed scene of tiny figures, some human and others mythic.