The surreal and figurative world of Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena

Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena is very clear about his vocation as a plastic artist. In fact, he says that he has been painting since he can remember and that he has always been attracted to museums and art galleries. Today, at the age of 27, he celebrates his first individual exhibition in Puerto Rico, although he has participated in collective exhibitions in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Cincinnati, Ohio, and at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art, among other art spaces.

The exhibition, entitled “A Visual Journal”, which is exhibited at the Petrus Gallery since last week, it consists of 15 paintings made between the years 2021 and 2022. A work that, according to the artist, represents a series of experiences, moments and places “that were and are important to me”.

“This exhibition is a way to define, without using portraits, who I am through painting. But within the show there is a unifying language in which I used lines, shapes, characters and landscapes to create sublime compositions and narratives within the works. I also use my moods to create atmospheres that allude to those emotions that I want to convey,” explains Báez, who belongs to the collective of young artists Generación Reactiva, which has been part of the Petrus Gallery for six years.

Work of the plastic artist Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena, part of the exhibition “A Visual Journal”. (Supplied)

Creating this exhibition, says the artist, has been a lot of learning and effort. In addition to that he feels that he has polished himself as an artist and has helped him to have more consistency. “I think it is another stepping stone for me, to launch myself and continue painting because I will never stop painting and making art. This is my work and it is what I always want to dedicate myself to,” says Báez, who describes his work as surreal and full of symbolism.

“I want to create a sublime work that has a mysterious narrative, because my style is mostly surreal, figurative and abstract at the same time”, explains the artist, who accepts that he has a lot of influence from the Puerto Rican artist Elizam Escobar. In the same way, he says that he is very inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko, who along with Jackson Pollock, were the main representatives of American abstraction and “I adore Salvador Dalí”. He also mentions the French artist Marcel Duchamp and the British painter and printmaker Lucian Freud “with whom he shares similar aesthetic and conceptual concerns.”

Of the colors he uses the most, he says that right now he is in a phase where he uses blue a lot. “But I am also using pink, like those of Renaissance paintings, but applied to contemporary art and modernity,” adds Iván Alejandro, after explaining that his paintings are built on layers of interposed images that are unified in a composition.

One of the works of the artist Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena where he combines painting and photography.
One of the works of the artist Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena where he combines painting and photography. (Supplied)

“The intention with my art is to transmit an emotion and achieve transcendence in the viewer. My work has led me to define a style as an exploration of consciousness, an attempt to capture what is not seen, but is known to be there”, points out Iván Alejandro, while explaining that all the works are in mixed media.

“I use acrylic markers, varnish, acrylic paint and spray paint,” details the plastic artist, while urging the public to support him and visit the exhibition “so they can see something fresh, new, that has not been seen before”.

The young artist admits that his curiosity about metaphysics, spirituality and social relations also influence his way of painting. “I have always been a very sensitive person in a good way and that is why I try to capture emotions. In other words, that which is not seen, but is felt. That is what I try to convey in my pieces through abstraction and the figurative”, he adds, after highlighting that his paintings are also a reflection of the times we live in, “of the accelerated nature of modern society, the post-internet era, the bombardment of propaganda images and the search for identity as Puerto Ricans”.

Iván Alejandro also wants to thank the Petrus Gallery “and Sylvia Villafañe for giving me the opportunity because this is what I would like to do for the rest of my life.”

More details

The exhibition is accompanied by a video of the works, which can be accessed by visiting the gallery’s digital portal, www.petrusgallery.comdownloading his mobile application that you find under “petrus gallery”, on his YouTube channel or on Facebook and Instagram, all identified as Petrus Gallery.

For those who wish to attend, they must make their reservation by calling (787)289-0505 and (787)318-8993. The use of a mask is required at all times.

The Petrus Gallery is located at 726 Hoare Street, corner of Las Palmas, in Miramar. You can also communicate via email, to On Instagram and Facebook: gallerypetrus. And in the mobile application: Petrus Gallery.

The surreal and figurative world of Iván Alejandro Báez Cartagena