Silvio Gayton was born in Havana, Cuba. He studied at the National School of Fine art San Alejandro for seven years without interruption, and took courses at the School of Advertising. For reasons which, call for no mention, Silvio decided to emigrate. He first went to Caracas Venezuela where he worked for advertising agencies. He next moved to Madrid where he also engaged in similar work. Finally, in 1966 he established residence in the United States, in 1975. As in his days living in Cuba, he learned a living by engaging in commercial and design artwork. However in Silvio’s painting he provides the true measure of his professional knowledge, his power of invention and his capacity for success, and to his art he gives himself Silvio Gayton is one of the most fully realized personalities in Cuban art.
At first glance the canvases of Silvio Gayton, generally large in scale, give the impression of mosaics. Only when viewed from close range the differences in texture, the varying thicknesses on impasto, and the rich oily colors make it clear that the compositions are indeed paintings; shining, transparent and full of life! They also convey an impression of obscurity, but this is also dispelled upon closer observation. The ideas Gayton has developed, tough cryptic in nature, give up their secrets when examined in detail, conveying a message that is altogether clear. At first the viewer may feel lost in a labyrinth from which there is no exit, but after a period of contemplation he discovers the thread of ariadne that leads to understanding. Behind the veil of glittering detail that sweeps to the edge of the canvas are forms built of color, filled with meaning. The viewer now perceives the reality the artist is addressing and the wealth of talent he possesses for visual expression.
Authority on Latin American Art & Founder and First director of The Museum on Modern Art of Latin American
Spontaneity, perhaps sometimes even reckless abandonment… Whatever you want to call it, this is how I paint. Style is not something that I immediately think about. In fact, I believe it can sometimes tie an artist down. Images change and so should interpretations and expressions of them. In my paintings, you will see a variety of images that challenge perception and even lead you to the discovery of new worlds where forms inspire one’s own imagination of those worlds. Urging people think in the here and now — without regard to the past or to the future and beyond color, composition, theme or artistic conventions, is how I want my work to be experienced.
To understand me, I believe one must delve into my past from my native Cuba, where I was born and where later I studied at the Nacional Escuela de Bellas Artes in San Alejandro, to today in Miami, where as a Cuban exile I have been experiencing life and painting for decades. At San Alejandro, I gained a comprehensive knowledge of technique and art history but I also undertook studies in advertising and media. It is, in fact, in the world of graphic design and advertising where I began to explore a variety of themes and subject matter. This journey took me to Spain, Venezuela, Chicago and eventually Miami where I continue to explore new themes and subject matter whilst developing new avenues of expression and iconography.
My roots in graphic design and advertising do not bother me. I’m not an artist of any time period; I have no commitment to phases in my life or my work, all of these phases co-exist and express themselves with their own identity. Broad and diverse, this body of work cries a freedom that identifies me as a completely spontaneous artist yet confident and determined in approach and direction. My development as an artist, however, is loyal and appreciative of those who have inspired me, especially the Catalan artist, Antoni Clave, and the Spanish painter, El Greco. Like most painters, I hope to influence. But I don’t apologize for not being subtle about this; on the contrary, I relish in the brutal honesty of expression and knowing that my own identity is uncompromised.
So I am a painter who, as deliberate as I am spontaneous, paints with form and color comprising the essence of my artistic expression. Some years ago, this was coined “kaleidoscopic expressionism” only because it was the only artistic movement that best described the breadth of my work. Today, however, my perspective goes far beyond suggestions of form, with image and color complimenting each other more than ever. I oscillate deliberately between solid form and abstraction to create enigmatic imagery that attempts to walk a delicate line between reality and perception. For me, the reward is art that transcends the limits imposed by trends and, in fact, just simple and profound creativity.
My plans for the future call for a continued commitment to painting but today, I find myself highly inspired and influenced by life, youth and the spirit of collaboration – themes, I believe, that are not easily confronted by many painters especially those of my age. Over the last several years, these themes have become even more predominant in my life.