Painted Worlds: Argentina
February 14 - March 31, 2002
The exhibition brought to the United States the work of three established painters from Argentina: Ana Fabry, Mario Perez and Eduardo Esquivel. These mature, mid-career artists were born and raised in provincial Argentinean cities. Ana Fabry came from Santa Fe, Cordoba, an eastern provincial capital on the pampas, those vast, grassy plains that occupy the heartland of Argentina. Peréz and Esquivel came from San Juan, a high desert-plateau city built on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. All three have created singular worlds within their paintings. Only Fabry has a history of using painting for political purposes.
Fabry's world is set on the stage. Here, on a platform for make-believe, her characters perform morality plays written by the artist. These archetypes of Argentinean people comment on the state of contemporary life and on Argentina's recent history. They behave ingloriously, respond to international affairs, live out their marital strife, and interact with the angels. Funny, sad, and engaging, her charming paintings are underpinned with biting satire.
Esquivel, with a background in philosophy, is interested in how the people of this vast desert plateau carry on the rituals that define their world, be they ancient traditions brought over from Spain or mysteries and rituals born on the new continent. Peréz paints the life of the people, how they create human community within that vast space, and how light is the physical essence that shapes their world. These are painters of human psychology, of a specific natural world, and of human settlement.
In much of Latin America conceptual art developed early in this century. It quickly became an important avenue for political challenge, especially in countries ruled by military dictatorships where to question was to endanger one's life. But conceptual art, instead of displacing painting as it did in much of the United States and Europe, simply supplied another layer to visual life. Happily, the strong painting tradition in all of Latin America continued unabated right into the twenty-first century.
Made in America, 2001
mixed media on canvas
Truko Center Park, 1997
oil on canvas