Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Latin American Art Essay

Art is a form of expression. Paintings are a form of visual art. Artists are the creators of visual forms of communication and their art works speak out what is in their hearts and minds. Art in any form, music, sculpture or dance is nonetheless a language of the soul of the artist. Art of a period is a depiction and impact of the social, political, religious, cultural, traditional, geographical and social system prevalent at the time. Like the transformation of a person through circumstances and experience, paintings too exhibit change in their character in form, subject, and choice of colors, technique and style. Latin American art grew through the age of ancient folklore, to a combination of modernism; to rebel against imperialism, colonialism, terrorism and dominance of the western world ; surpassing the turbulence played by history with the Latin American countries. They were plundered and conquered innumerable times and till today they fight for their identity which is dissolving into the global world. The name of Mexican Artist Diego Rivera is famous as the master of cubism of the early 20 century. His works have gained immense popularity for their modernism and retention of originality. â€Å"Diego was fascinated by the new style of painting led by celebrated Spaniard Pablo Picasso† in the cubist paintings by Diego†¦ so he mastered that style from 1913 and developed it in his later works. The Zapatista Landscape is a painting in the same style. It is a landscape of the city of Zapatista. Juxtaposed with the geographical terrain of Zapatista, are the bold and beautiful pictures of guns, fragments of human features in the backdrop of nature. Bold lines are absent but the distinction of shapes is vivid in the painting. There is an indication of texture but the strokes of the brush are smooth. The landscape showers a powerful beam of bright light from above in the painting. Colors are not representational but expressive. Apt to its time, the landscape breaks rapidly just like the destruction and damage of the culture and traditions at the mercy of those who ruled over them then. The Zapatista landscape, by Diego Rivera, the master of cubism, is my choice because it has a tremendous visual impact and bursts with vibrant colors. The second image of another artist of the period is that of Joaquin Torres Garcia. His abstract metaphysical work captivates the viewer because of its grid shapes and different style. His paintings look like murals on a wall, where geometrical shapes are made to look unique by the effect of metallic colors. Numbers, dimensions and shapes comprise his visual portrayal. Torres Garcia developed his own style called the constructivist Art in the early 20 century. He returned to his roots after several years in Europe and America. A man without any family ties, Joaquin was brave and confident to try out new styles of his own but wanted to preserve the tribal art and geometrical organization of expressions just like the Inca Civilization and Peruvian art. He used the golden mean to express his art. The distinct feature of his paintings is their irregular grid base and the signs embedded into each. His paintings look as though they have been made on walls and not on canvas. The play of light and shade is subtle. His colors are representational but they capture the eye by their abstract subjects. His paintings are very fascinating as we do not understand their theme at first instance. They make you look at them for hours and to penetrate into every detail to understand the interesting message from the mind of Garcia. There is a three dimensional effect but there is no perspective to his paintings. They look flat but the grid looks as though each piece is an embossed metal sheet with figures and forms on it. There is a balance of spatial relationship but no attempt at creating illusions. The luster of metals is an unusual method of Garcia’s works. His creations speak about spirituality, religion, meditation and universality. His deep belief in traditions of ancient civilizations like the Inca, surfaces clearly in his works. They signify the resistance he felt towards the dominance of European art. His works reverberate feelings of identity crisis of the Latin American people and rebellion against the degradation of their culture. His subject is not human forms but a connection to the universe and the eternity of the soul. The marvel of the two different paintings is their diverse subject, theme, style, color schemes and effects. But the message is unmistakably the same. Search of identities! Unity amidst diversity! How do they stand out alone and yet combine to form such a strong pair? The Zapatista by Diego Rivera is like a bright flower struggling for survival and fighting its rough terrain. It evokes a feeling of admiration for an individual’s self esteem. The painting by Joaquin Torres Garcia, with its grid base and earthy metallic colors evokes a respect for some one who is trying to make a place for himself in a world that refuses him the identity and dignity he deserves. Disparity, unrest, between classes of society, in the third world and western countries, the message of rebellion, liberty from suppression by power of education, wealth, industry and might, is the loud and clear evocation of both the works. The Zapatista, Diego’s work promotes a message of patriotism through his painting, while Joaquin achieves it by his systematic grid base in his work. The grid base gives a rational approach to art while the abstract forms connect creativity to the ultimate unknown realms of the Universe. Beautiful landscape of Zapatista projects peace and harmony with its blue sky, brown mountains and green trees but is superimposed by brightly colored pictures of guns and dark suspicious eyes of the innocent citizens, of the revolutionaries who were desperate to break free from the ramshackle of their present. Garcia vividly demarcates visual matter by geometrical grids, blended into abstract forms and Diego uses cubism to arouse feelings in his work. But there is a harmony of thought which binds both these paintings into a single message. That of an uprising surging in the hearts of sensitive people of Latin America and their struggle to retain their identity in the emerging new world. Together they resonate the same ultimate yearning of mankind. To rise up above time and to live up to eternity. Stare at them and they speak out to you. Call you towards them and throw you back if you do not understand the message they are giving. Zapatista landscape beckons all those who have migrated to affluent countries in quest of their unfulfilled dreams. It brings out sighs of nostalgia and tears of rage, betrayal and fear when you look at it. Garcia’s work attracts you like a magnet to metal. The lustrous metallic shine with abstract intriguing signs, get embossed on your mind. They lead you to believe that art and creativity are a science and can be portrayed through numbers. See each one in a different light and when together they tell the same story. Like a newly married couple, coming from two different corners of the world. With two different upbringings but united for life to seek the same purpose. That of procreation. Of giving birth to a new world, full of hope, happiness and universal bliss. Not just for themselves but for the Universe as a whole. Works Cited Diego Rivera (Mexico), Zapatista Landscape, 1915, 29 November 2008. Joaquin Torres-Garcia (Uruguay), Abstract Metaphysical Forms, 1930, 29 November 2008

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