Rubén Fuentes paintings and ink drawings—usually large in scale—often explore nature with flora and fauna dominating. In the acrylic painting Flying Ecosystem (2019), for example, a mass of green trees take the shape of a flying bird, with a horizontal stream of river traversing the forest.Read More
Fuentes' concern with nature draws from the mountainous Matanzas region, where he grew up in Cuba. The artist has stressed the importance of nature, telling Radio26.CU in 2018 that it grants humanity 'spiritual tranquility, harmony, balance'.
Many of Fuentes' landscapes recall traditional Chinese and Japanese shanshui painting in his liberal use of the white or blank space of the canvas, resulting in subjects that appear as though they are floating in the air or engulfed in a mist. The contrast produced by this technique is seen in ink drawings such as Ride the Snake (2016) or Chuang Tzu dreamed by the butterfly (2019), which achieve an effect of serenity and the sublime.
Fuentes also teaches drawing, painting, and the Japanese ink painting tradition sumi-e in a painting course that draws from traditional Chinese and Japanese painting as well as the principles of Zen.
For his solo exhibition The Sixth Extinction at Dumonteil Gallery New York in 2017, Rubén Fuentes presented ink drawings and paintings revolving around extinct animal species, including the Big Penguin, Tasmanian tiger, and the moa. In each work, the animal is rendered at a mountainous size in comparison to their surrounding landscapes, while meticulously delineated tree bark, branches, and rocks make up its form.