Loló Soldevilla played a crucial role in establishing geometric abstraction in Cuba, founding the Galería Color-Luz in Havana with fellow artist Pedro de Oraá in 1957 and the artist group Espacio in 1964. She was also an important member of the artist group Diez Pintores Concretos (Ten Concrete Painters), formed in Havana in 1958. The austere rationalism of concrete art – a transnational abstraction practiced by Max Bill in Germany, Gyula Kosice and the Madí group in Buenos Aires, and Waldemar Cordeiro and other concrete artists in São Paulo – contrasted starkly with the figurative tropical style of Cuban art of the 1940s.
Two of Soldevilla’s untitled works, a mixed media painting and a bronze-and-wood sculpture, playfully explore balance and harmony. In the painting’s considered placement of contrasting elements, she created a dynamic of opposites (circle and square, black and white, left and right) that ultimately resolve into a cohesive whole. In spite of the painting’s square frame, the nested forms and their opposing placement suggest that the composition might extend beyond those borders. Indeed, this is not a painting in the traditional sense – a contained image of something else – but rather an autonomous object.
Continuity is also suggested by the sculpture’s circular forms, which spiral ever outward. Through the complex interaction of shape and line, circle and square, Soldevilla has constructed a dynamic object that generates its own logic.
Loló Soldevilla traveled to Paris in 1949, working as a cultural attaché in the Cuban Embassy and studying sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1950 she returned briefly to Cuba, presenting sculptures and paintings in her first two solo exhibitions. Back in Paris in 1951 she took part in the Atelier d’art abstrait and turned to geometric abstraction. Her works of the 1950s, which mostly feature geometric forms, include slender metal sculptures (Stables), paintings reminiscent of celestial alignments, and luminous reliefs inspired by her collaboration with the Spanish kinetic artist Eusebio Sempere (1923–1985). From 1951 to 1955 she participated in the Salon des Realités Nouvelles (Exhibition of New Realities), and in 1956 she permanently returned to Havana. There she organized the exhibition Pintura de hoy. Vanguardia de la Escuela de Paris (Painting Today: Vanguard School of Paris; Palacio de Bellas Artes, 1956) and opened the Galería de Arte Color-Luz (Color-Light Art Gallery) with Pedro de Oraá (b. 1931) in 1957. The gallery became central to the group Diez Pintores Concretos (Ten Concrete Painters), which Soldevilla co-founded in 1958. Following the Cuban Revolution, Soldevilla’s artistic output decreased, although she taught at the Escuela de Arquitectura (School of Architecture) in Havana (1960–1961), edited the communist newspaper Granma (1965–1971), and founded the group Espacio (1965) to mentor young artists.