Communication, Communion, and Confrontation in Puerto Rican Art

In this artist talk, Antonio Martorell (artist-in-residence at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey) discusses Rain/Lluvia, an exhibit of his work at Linfield College's Linfield Gallery. With Rain/Lluvia, Martorell created a suite of works that respond to the landscape of Oregon, not as experienced by the artist, but as related to him from people who live here. “When the opportunity came my way to bring an exhibition to Oregon, a place that I had never visited before, I candidly asked: '¿Que pasa en Oregon?' (What happens in Oregon?) I received an equally candid answer: 'It rains every day.'" That short summation of Oregon life sparked an instant image for Martorell: the umbrella. Using the image of the umbrella as a jumping off point, Martorell created a new body of work that includes large-scale works on paper and a site-specific installation. The largest work in the exhibition is the “Umbrella Wall.” On it, foundational texts from Puerto Rico, the United States and the world survive being washed out through the presence of friends and relatives who uphold them. The work invites audiences to reflect on what it means to be a “citizen” in a new digital landscape. ​Rain/Lluvia ​was presented at the Linfield Gallery from October 18 through November 18, 2017.