Through the Darkest Hour by Alvaro Labanino

AVON PARK, Fla. – Sept. 23, 2019 – The South Florida State College (SFSC) Museum of Florida Art and Culture (MOFAC) will present The Stories Within: Alvaro Labanino & Miguel Saludes. This exhibition runs Wednesday, Oct. 2 – Wednesday, Nov. 20 at MOFAC’s gallery located in the east wing of the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts on the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park. Patrons of the museum may meet the artists during the exhibition’s opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 1 p.m. in MOFAC.

Labanino and Saludes, two Miami artists who met as teenagers in an art class in high school, have been endeavoring to help cement the city’s mark in the contemporary art scene in conjunction with their own. Together, over the years, they have built a rapport of artistic collaboration and a shared vision. Inspired by artist partnerships of the past, American-born Labanino and Cuban émigré Saludes fervently pursue an artistic legacy of the like within Miami and abroad.

The title of this exhibition, The Stories Within, alludes to the inward nature behind the presented works, each one delicately tailored from memories of people, places, and life circumstances that have affected and defined both Alvaro Labanino and Miguel Saludes. Every piece of artwork is a one-of-a-kind, unrepeatable chance to reason the sometimes unreasonable mysteries of life and to capture the often imperceptible fleeting trace of beauty that exists all around us.

Across the Great Divide by Miguel Saludes

Labanino’s work blurs the boundaries between the genres of still life, landscape painting, color field abstraction, and abstract expressionism. Within this traditional quadrilateral, Labanino depicts windows into his private living quarters. His interior spaces remind us of the living quarters once scrutinized by Vermeer or of those humanized by Van Gogh, and even of those haunting, hallucinated spaces by Bacon. Labanino sets out to make sense of the objects that surround him: an espresso percolator, a handful of paint tubes heaped inside of an easel cabinet, a bookshelf, a bed, to name but a few. Observed with detachment, these things have no meaning or inherent beauty, no significance, nor life of their own. However, to him, these objects and spaces are externalized parts of his soul.

To get inside of Saludes’ pictorial mind, we must place ourselves in a quiet space, away from the stress that permeates our lives. As the walls around us dissolve, we set ourselves free in the natural world where we’re overcome by a sense of immediate presence and of inner peace. Saludes invites us to slow down for a moment and contemplate reality anew.

MOFAC is located in the Wildstein Center at SFSC, 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park. The museum is open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by appointment for group tours. Patrons of the Wildstein Center may visit the museum one hour prior to matinee and evening performances. For more information about MOFAC and its programs or to request a museum tour, contact Megan Stepe, curator, by phone at 863-784-7240, email at, or visit