The impetus for “Between Nothingness and Paradise” was touched off many years ago, when Queens-based artist Gregory Jos. de la Haba was a boy. Gambling, then, began to reveal itself in his blood: stories of a wealthy Spanish grandfather who opened the first casinos in Puerto Rico; alternately, the poor Irish grandfather whose ways and means he came to know intimately as they walked to the local OTB five days a week. As Gregory matured, his life took on a quixotic quality distinctly his own—betting the longshot at casinos, handicapping ponies at the race track, with the impractical, more often than not, panning out flawlessly. Success in hand, de la Haba soon turned horse owner, and eventually found himself in the Saratoga winner’s circle.
All the while, there was his art, financed, inspired, albeit sometimes occluded by, the life of a gambling man. Now, emerging at the forefront of successive artistic accomplishments, de la Haba’s upcoming “Between Nothingness” finally—and boldly—marries both worlds.
While “Between Nothingness” is both genre-defying and deeply social, de la Haba has long been recognized as an exemplary practitioner of the more traditional asthetics of fine art; accolades and honors have come regionally and internationally and have firmly established the artist as a brilliant draftsman who proceeds with an acute conceptual edge. A cum laude graduate of Harvard University, as well as a star pupil at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, MA; La Universidad del Sacrado Corazon in Santurce, PR; and Artes Plasticas in San Juan, PR, de la Haba noteably studied the art of picture-making under the tutelage of Paul Ingbretson.(This particular type of study has been passed from master to pupil since its inception in 18th Century France, beginning with the renowned Neoclassicist Jacques Louis David.)
A true patron of the arts as well as a practitioner, de la Haba donates each year to the Irish Repertory Theatre, and established the Carlos Collazo Scholarship at Artes Plasticas in San Juan, PR, in honor of the artist who died of AIDS in 1989.