Cuban artist Reynier Llanes returns to Charleston

The Gibbes Museum of Art presents the vibrant narrative paintings of Reynier Llanes, an established Cuban artist who spent six years working in Charleston before settling in Miami in 2015. Reynier Llanes: Passages will be on view in the museum’s third-floor galleries from May 24 – September 15, 2024.

“We were first introduced to Reynier Llanes’ work when he was awarded the Artist in Residence position at Jonathan Green Studios. For six years, Charleston’s art and cultural community served as inspiration to Reynier, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to our city,” Angela Mack, president and CEO of the Gibbes Museum of Art, said. “This exhibition will feature works that he made while living in Charleston and will also introduce the community to many of his latest creations.”

Llanes, born in 1985 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, honed his artistic talents at the city’s School of Art (Instructores de Arte) under the coaching of renowned realist artist Juan Miguel Suárez before moving to Havana in 2005 to continue his studies. Immigrating to the United States in 2007, Llanes established himself as a prominent artist with exhibitions like Strange Visitor in Naples, FL and an artist residency at Jonathan Green Studios in Charleston.

Recognized by Oxford American in 2012 as a “New Superstar of Southern Art,” Llanes’s work, deeply influenced by Southern culture, was featured in a traveling exhibition, The Vibrant Vision Collection, at the Morris Museum in Augusta, GA and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. With notable solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Butler Institute of American Art and the Polk Museum of Art, Llanes’ art now resides in the permanent collections of renowned museums across the country.

Reynier Llanes: Passages features several of the artist’s recent large-scale oil paintings, as well as works from earlier in his career including examples of his unique coffee watercolor paintings – a style he has dubbed “Espressionism.” Llanes combines and contrasts scenes from nature and daily life with a mystical and imaginative elegance.

Drawing from his own memories and experience as an artist and immigrant, as well as his studies of literature, history and science, Llanes invites viewers into his unique dreamworlds. His explorations of personal and societal passages, both physical and spiritual, sensitively communicate common threads in humanity.

This exhibition is organized by the Gibbes Museum of Art. In conjunction with Reynier Llanes: Passages, the Gibbes Museum of Art will hold exhibition-related programming throughout the show’s time on view. Please see below for additional information on these special events.

Crossing Over: Reynier Llanes in Conversation

May 29, 2024, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Join the Gibbes in conversation with the artist as he discusses his journey from Cuba to the United States and the evolution of his work from his unique coffee paintings to his more recent body of works at the intersections of art, physics, and the spiritual world. The event will be moderated by Maura Hogan, former contributing arts critic and columnist at The Post and Courier and founder of the art and culture newsletter Culture South.

For more information, visit

Cafe Society | Open Mic Night at the Gibbes

July 10, 2024, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Drawing on the themes of the exhibition Reynier LIanes: Passages and inspired by the storytelling series The Moth, guests are encouraged to stand and deliver a three- to five-minute story, poem, song or other performance that explores the topic of “passages”—a rite of passage, a physical migration or some other crossing—at the Gibbes’ very first open mic night. Made possible by the Art Bridges Access for All initiative, this special evening will include several hand-picked guest artists as the reception and lecture halls are transformed into an after-hours, comedy club-style atmosphere.

For more information, visit

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