Reflections on Returning
have known Julio Valdez so long that we almost cannot remember not knowing
him. He was in one of the first group of graduates of Altos de Chavón
School of Design, the innovative art and design affiliate of Parsons
School of Design, founded in La Romana, Dominican Republic in 1983.
From those days until now, he has retained the luster and sense of wonder
that made him stand out as a young artist.
Julio Valdez, the period of artistic experimentation, skill acquisition,
and familiarization with art history were accomplished with surprising
ease compared with the other students of his group. From the outset,
he was on his way to being an artist. Such profound determination was
atypical among his peers. It called our attention, provoking the admiration
of all, and even the envy of some. We hired him to teach despite his
being scarcely older than the students. His talent, however, was unmistakable.
Professionalism had taken hold. Julio Valdez had learned the steps and
his journey to success and recognition was in progress.
he began to experience the kind of gallery and exhibition inclusion
that now is commonplace for him, it reaffirmed our belief that quality
still is rewarded. When he won the prizes and the attention of critics
and collectors, when he was juried into the important shows, it was
clear why. He set an impressive example. Julio Valdez leaves little
or nothing to chance. He researches the possibilities. He makes the
deadlines, frames and packs the artwork himself, arranges for the shipping,
and conceives and oversees the catalog design. No detail escapes him;
nothing is haphazard or casual.
art is one with his attitude toward work. His painting and printmaking
are meticulous, carefully experimental, full of hard work, and endlessly
self-evaluated. When something unexpected emerges, thanks to his clear
command of the craft, it seems calculated; there are passages that appear
to contain provoked accidents and controlled ambiguities - but there
is never chaos or fury. The work shimmers with harmony and unity. Julio
Valdez's quintessential visual blend is as melodic and lyrical as the
music he listens to as he works. Personal symbols for humankind, beasts,
and flora emerge from the profound depths of his layered painted environments
with ease and grace.
extraordinary painter, printmaker, and draftsman compels us to note
the course he is on. With this show at the Altos de Chavón Gallery
in La Romana, where his talent was spawned, he honors his roots and
shows us how far he has come in so little time.
The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation
The Altos de Chavón Gallery
D. Kaplan, rector
The Altos de Chavón School of Design