Late Tapestries (middle 1985)

The distinguishing features of the Late Tapestries are bold areas of black, virtuoso abstract expressionist passages, aggressive collage elements (even tarpaper) and the use of wood panel instead of canvas, as seen in Landscape with Saint John the Baptist, an early painting of the series. Such energy could not be constrained within the confines of the rectangle for long.

Vibrant freeform constructions, such as Squid, N.G.C. (New Galaxy Cataloged) and Arc (K), soon appeared, made of curvilinear and triangular wooden panels attached to a central, rectangular canvas or panel. In these strong compositions, the solid areas of black and the painterly passages replace the formerly dominant webs and grids, which remain at first as vestigial elements, then disappear. Also gone are the grand themes: the theme of these works, true to abstract expressionist principle, is strictly their own form and the process of creating them. About Collazo's painting method, Pérez Ruiz remarked:

"...we can affirm that Expressionism constituted the liberating catalytic agent of a labor for which he was forced on many occasions to interrupt the sequentiality of time. When that happened, he could reveal an esoteric knowledge that can place us in futuristic spaces and even can bring to mind transgalactic cultures. These are panels dominated by spiraling strokes that create turbulent sensations. Among those brushstrokes, isolated visions begin to appear, not yet completely materialized before our eyes. When we look at these panels, we note how those pictorial whirlwinds act. They seem to behave as if demarcating the space in order to establish their own world. At times, we seem to discern compositions planned to contain within them new paradises. Those brushstrokes seek to emulate the action of the Almighty when he gave order to preexisting chaos."13

From this time onward, the artist painted primarily on wood panel, a stable support for his collage elements and increasingly thick impasto.

Works on paper, sometimes cut out and collaged onto the paintings or onto other works on paper, include the remarkable Destructure, in which the web and grid structures have disintegrated, revealing an expressionist, painterly style.


The Paintings of Raphael Collazo: Note

13 José Antonio Pérez Ruiz, Reflections about Raphael Collazo's Work, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 1999, catalog, Profound Domains, Galería Matices, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, December 7, 1999-January 8, 2000, curated by José Antonio Pérez Ruiz. Translated from Spanish by Marisol Uzal and Martin Haggland.