Henry Bermudez, 2016 Peter Benoliel Fellow

Bermudez’s paintings are steeped in mythical dream imagery, an otherworldliness of carefully constructed swirling forms, lush color and splashes of gold. His palette is rich and vibrant. Earthy jewel tones saturate the canvases, and his use of gold-leaf marks his work with a bright warm light. Bermudez’s figures emerge from the rich complexity of their settings, intertwining and flowing. His paintings exude a surrealistic atmosphere, suggesting a mythology full of complex cultures lost in the wilds of the jungle or living in a primordial world. Vines and trees are sinuous tangles emerging from the background, winding around themselves and figures. Horses, serpents and mythical figures are gracefully powerful striations of muscle and sensuality. The artist’s paintings deftly explore the intersection of pre-Columbian and Christian, melding the two cultures and creating a new language of images and meanings.

His work has been placed in many prestigious public and private collections throughout Central and North America. Major museum collections include the museums of contemporary art in Caracas, Maracaibo, Merida and Maracay in Venezuela, as well as others. He was selected to be the Venezuelan representative for the 1986 Venice Biennale and has been the subject of numerous articles. Exhibition catalogs include the X International Print and Drawing Exhibition of China, as well as in books on the subject of Venezuelan art.    

Henry Bermudez attended the National Schools of Art in both Venezuela and Mexico and studied in New York City’s Art Students’ League, as well as in Rome. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States.

Since returning to the U.S. in 2003, Bermudez has been working with the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia on several major projects and maintains an active studio and exhibition schedule.