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Melanie Nayer

Melanie Nayer

Posted: October 25, 2010 08:08 AM

It's rare you meet a man who really understands a woman. Staring at "Inner Time," I knew artist Carlos Estevez understood the female complexity. He had to - how else could he have painted a picture that depicted the depths, difficulties, passion, imperfectionism, idealism and heartbreak of a woman so perfectly?

I stared at the ballerina in the painting - her red dress a stark reminder of the vitality, resilience and masked vulnerability of a woman. The clocks surrounding her were a constant reminder of time passing by as she contemplates in which direction to move. She was mysterious but seemed open to the journey.

It's hard to predict when and where art will move you. It's likely you'll never forget the moment you saw the Mona Lisa up close, looked at the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel, or walked among the sculptures inside the Alhambra. Art galleries and museums exist around the world with works so powerful they leave you breathless, but it's not often you're struck by art in your hotel.

Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
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In his painting Inner Time, Carlos Estevez conveys inner time as personified by a ballerina. "The dance in itself is a symbol of movement and of all the dynamic processes of the universe." The piece is the largest work of art Estevez has ever created, and has been on loan to The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne since it was unveiled during Art Basel 2009. Cited by the Wall Street Journal last year as one of four artists "leading the Cuban art revolution," Estevez created this piece specifically for RUMBAR, which is home to Miami's largest rum collection, and is the only upscale live Latin music venue in Miami.
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I was standing at RUMBAR in The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, when I came across "Inner Time." So captivated by the red ballerina on the wall, I tuned out the Latin music playing the background and forgot I was standing on 30 minutes from South Beach. This wasn't your typical white hotel wall. This was a statement.

Hotels have long fallen victim to bad art, hanging the typical 'sailboat in the water' or 'girl picking flowers' poster of a painting on bland white walls. However, thanks to a new wave of owners and a more aggressive generation of artists, hotels are starting to realize the potential of having rare, unique and sometimes controversial works of art placed in open space.

My fascination with "Inner Time" stayed with me long enough to contact Estevez for an interview. I was intrigued by his perception of women and his thoughts on how travel could inspire art in various forms.

"We travel as a way to get real knowledge. When you travel, you meet the human touch, the reality of people, and experience is irreplaceable," he said.

The creation of "Inner Time" came from a feeling, Estevez said. He had an intuition to paint a piece that deconstructed the woman's mind and embraced her inner beauty, and the result was the ballerina in red surrounded by clocks and cityscapes.

"The spirit is a complex machinery - no one knows exactly how it works. We react in life based on different circumstances," said Estevez. "The machinery is a metaphor of human spirit and the other aspect is time - how time can change in relationship based on the perception we have on life. Sometimes life passes us by fast, and sometimes it passes too slowly, but everyone has a case of their own time."

As for why he chose he a woman to represent time?

"I found the woman's universe is more spiritual, with a power of sensibility," he said. "I think women in general are more mysterious."

Seems one man's mystery is now a work of art.

 

Follow Melanie Nayer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chic_travel