Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"There are spirits in my country and I strain to listen to their voices." Rufino Tamayo

There are huge holes in my art background, and this is another artist I didn't know much about. While he was a young man, Tamayo began studies at the Academy of San Carlos i
n Mexico City where he was told to copy plaster casts as accurately as possible; it didn't take him long to realize that this was not for him. His teachers did encourage him to visits the museums, and he did. What struck him when he studied the European masters was not their subjects or styles so much as the strength of their personalities. But in his classes, the teachers seemed to be interested in extinguishing personality. So he left.
Above is Tres Personajes (from Todo Artes/Creative Commons)

A contact from his hometown of Oaxaca helped him get a job at the archeology museum in Mexico City, and there he was exposed to pre-Columbian art. H
e realized that this would be his source. While critics have pointed out the influence of Braque, Picasso, and Cezanne in his work, once you have a chance to see more than a few you can see the clear stamp of his personality on the work. (He lived from 1899 - 1991.)

He seems to love strong shapes, a flattened pictu
re plane, and layers of color. Scroll downto see this diptych which is not-exactly pre-Columbian, but I tried to interlock shapes and build up layers of colors. If you look closely there may be some clunkers that are almost pre-Columbian.

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