Merengue en Boca Chica, 1983
Rafael Ferrer (American, born Puerto Rico, 1933)
Oil on canvas
60 x 72 in. (152.4 x 182.9 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 1984 (1984.2)
Merengue en Boca Chica presents a pleasant tropical resort scene, probably set in the Dominican Republic, where the artist owns a home. Underlying the composition, however, may be issues of race and class, and perhaps sexual tension. Seated on the beach are two figures based on Ferrer and his wife, serenaded by a trio of strolling musicians playing a small drum, a guitar, and a guiro (gourd). Palm trees already bent by the wind appear to sway to the tropical rhythms of the combo’s merengue. Ferrer has skillfully affected a “primitive” or “naive” style that approximates the conventions of folk art, a flourishing art form on many Caribbean islands. Further following this genre, the painting’s bright, exuberant colors complement the overall decorative patterns, and the distortions in scale and proportion enhance the narrative.
Source: Rafael Ferrer: Merengue en Boca Chica (1984.2) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art