CubaPLUS Magazine

Oistel González Ávila Women of wood on the edge

By: Nubia Piqueras Grosso, Photos: Courtesy of the interviewee
Oistel González Ávila Women of wood on the edge

Faceless women, sculpted in wood, or other figures of large dimensions inspired by the female universe, mark the work of Oistel González Ávila, who always goes beyond his possibilities.

Oistel González Ávila Women of wood on the edge"The big pieces are the ones that rule, the ones that take you to the limit," said this Cuban sculptor, aged nearly 50 and winner of the Grand Prize at the 11th National Biennial of Carving 2022.

"For an artist, a piece that makes you try harder and know that you want more is very important, maybe that's why it's hard for me to carve something small," he confessed to CubaPLUS Magazine.

However, the empathy for grandeur is not only expressed in wood, but also in ceramic items, where he has impressive designs that he said he achieved with a certain ease. "That's why I need things that demand more from me every day, even if it costs me more to do it," he stated.

As the only boy and the youngest of three sibling, in addition to his mother and eldest daughter in his family, he makes the female figure the provocative muse of his artistic work, also appreciated in Cyprus, the United States, France and Belgium.

"The theme of women is always recurrent for artists, because they are inspiring, very laborious and their presence is infinite," said González Ávila, who is capable of "breaking the human figure down to give it character, forms, movements and very subtle lines that have an expression capable of transmitting, speaking and suggesting," he said.

Oistel González Ávila Women of wood on the edge"I try to grab people’s attention, even the most skeptical ones, so that they stop and say: there is something good in this work that I like," said the creator of La flor del tabaco, an artistic representation of a table of ‘torcedores’ (tobacco leaf twisters), winner of the grand prize at the Biennial.

The piece, made from two pieces of wood given to him,, "is inspired by women and reflects the movements of their hair and facial oval, but without a specific face, as is characteristic of all my work," he said.

"I always try to work strong lines and finishes that provide a character to the work, so it is almost impossible to turn the face without stopping," said the artist, who since childhood had skills related to creation, although wood sculpture came with the years, "when I felt the need to do different things."

Since then, he has also dabbled in silkscreen printing and engraving, among other techniques, whose proficiency has helped him create his own style noticed by many, such as José Ramón Villa Soberón (2008 National Plastic Arts Award), renowned professor José Duvergel, and Yuri Romero, president of the Carving section of the Cuban Association of Artisan Artists (ACAA).

Oistel González Ávila Women of wood on the edge"In the end the result speaks for itself and it is very inspiring that these people, with quite a few years of experience under their belts, say that your work is good and that you should keep working," he asserted.

A member of the ACCA since 2004, Gonzalez Avila is currently working on three projects: finishing a counter (2.7 meters high by 1.60 wide) for a bar at the Casa de los Artistas y Creadores in the capital's Centro Habana area, making two humidors for the Montecristo brand and another one for Cohiba, with a view to presenting them at the Habano Festival in February 2023.

"My work is quite novel, although it draws from many other good sculptors and artists, in a general sense; it's avant-garde, innovative. Above all, I do what I like, not what others want, regardless of the consequences," he pronounced.


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