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Carlos Merida (1891-1985)

Carlos Merida

The following text comes from wikipedia.

Carlos Mérida is best known for his canvas and mural works, most of which was done in Mexico. However, he also did engraving, set design and mosaic work.

His artistic direction has been compared to that of Rufino Tamayo, generally rejecting large-scale narrative paintings, preferring canvas,]being more interested in becoming a painter than in politics (with an exception in the 1950s when he was horrified by nuclear testing). He experimented with color and form as well as techniques. Music and dance were lifelong interests and they influenced his paintings with rhythmic, poetic and lyrical pieces.[2]

He had three major epochs, a figurative period from 1907 to 1926, a surrealism phase from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s and from 1950 until his death, geometric forms characterized his work. His early work is marked by experimentation.[16] He was in Europe when the avant garde was transitioning from Impressionism to Cubism and he was influenced by the works of Modigliani and Picasso His surrealist phase again came from time in Europe, meeting not only Paul Klee and Miró but also fellow Guatemalan Luis Cardoza y Aragón.] At this time, he abandoned his former figurative style and became one of Mexico´s first non-figurative artists, leaning to abstractionism and separating him from other Mexican artists.[2][12] This focus on the non-figurative continued into his later work, but with focus on geometric elements, especially those linked to New World indigenous cultures such as the Maya.[2][3] His work is considered highly intellectual, not representing things, but rather a concept of them. Salvador Novo wrote “The pre Hispanic world, in Carlos Mérida, attains a perfect synthesis, an ideal sublimation of numeric rhythm sprung from geometry. The debt owed by the abstract painting of our time to Carlos Mérida is thus as great as his work is perennially solid and relevant.

While heavily influenced by trends in Europe, especially his earlier work, Mérida felt it important to emphasize his American (New World) identity and culture. He fused European Modernism with forms and subjects specific to the Americas.[12] One reason for this was that in Europe he found that European artists were not interested in what was happening on the other side of the Atlantic.] He became convinced of the need to establish natively American art which would express the “original character which animates our nature and our race will inevitably engender a personal artistic expression.”[2] His work reflects on both the Mayan and Aztec civilizations along with the colonial period representing the indigenous as symbols of post Revolution Mexico.[He even integrated indigenous amate paper in to some of his works.[12] While part of Mexican muralism, he predated it slightly by promoting indigenous motifs seven years before Rivera led Mexican painting to fame.] Luis Cardoza y Aragon called him a pioneer of Latin American art, painting elements such as indigenous people, Mexican and Central American landscapes without oversentimenalizing which had not been done before.] This emphasis on the New World not only was expressed with folkloric images, especially in his early work, but also in his later work. The discovery of Bonampak motivated him deeply, taking new ideas from the ruins and eventually led to his interest in integrating painting and sculpture into architecture.

http://www.ftn-books.com has the Paris 1962 available

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