Raúl Mariaca Dalence creates resonant pastels and oil paintings of distant landscapes: La Toscana in Italy, Charlevoix in Quebec, and the Islands of Oahu and Maui in Hawaii. Depicting the terrain with bold subjectivity, he constructs his compositions intuitively using non-local color and abstraction to convey the singularity of vision and experience. Dalence’s background includes experimentation in photography, jazz piano, and singing in addition to his career in photochemistry after completing his PhD. And indeed, it is this diverse experience that drives him to combine art, dance, music, theater, and circus in order to enhance the dynamism of his work. Furthermore, born in La Paz, Bolivia and living in Switzerland, Dalence’s use of color is reflective of the vividly hued Bolivian fabrics typical of the Andean landscape.
In his work Maui Beach, Dalence renders a tropical Hawaiian beach scene in bright cobalt and crystal blue. The work highlights the various textures that exist in a single scene; the sea foam, rocky sand, and fecund foliage are depicted with equal attention. Though the landscape is one that appears familiar, the artist’s adept use of chromatic and tonal contrasts transforms the recognizable scene into a unique experience in which Dalence’s emotional perception is revealed.
Similarly, Dalence’s depiction of a Hawaiian volcano titled Eruption of Mauna Loa utilizes bold color and composition in order to highlight the tension inherent in a dramatic landscape. The pastel on canvas captures the unbridled power of nature as molten lava and ash spew into the air. The landscape is abstracted by the artist’s abundant mark making, creating a work that is not an objective record but a document of the artist’s own experience and vision.