Remedios Varo

In the previous post I mentioned my being turned, by a serendipitous contact’s suggestion, toward the artistry of Remedios Varo. It was my good fortune to find the two most important books of her work at The Cleveland Public Library.

The Magic of Remedios Varo – Luis-Martin Lozano (2000) – National Museum of Women In the Arts
Remedios Varo: The Mexican Years – Masayo Nonaka (2012) – Editorial RM

Remedios Varo (December 16, 1908 – October 8, 1963) was a Spanish-Mexican surrealist painter. She was born in Anglés Cataluña, Spain in 1908 and died from a heart-attack in Mexico City in 1963. During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was largely influenced by the surrealist movement. She met in Barcelona the french surrealist poet Benjamin Péret and became his wife. She was forced into exile from Paris during the Nazi occupation of France and moved to Mexico City at the end of 1941. She initially considered Mexico a temporary haven, but would remain in Latin America for the rest of her life.

In Mexico she met native artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. However, her strongest ties would be to other exiles and expatriates, and especially her extraordinary friendship with the English painter Leonora Carrington. Her last major relationship would be with Walter Gruen, an Austrian who had endured concentration camps before escaping Europe. Gruen believed fiercely in Varo, and gave her the support that allowed her to fully concentrate on her painting.

After 1949 Varo developed into her mature and remarkable style, which remains beautifully enigmatic and instantly recognizable. She often worked in oil on masonite panels she prepared herself. Although her colors have the blended resonance of the oil medium, her brushwork often involved many fine strokes of paint laid closely together – a technique more reminiscent of egg tempera. She died at the height of her career.

Her work continues to achieve successful retrospectives at major sites in Mexico and the United States. (Wikipedia)

Well worth your time:

REMEDIOS VARO: Round Table Discussion Part 1 – Hosted by Frey Norris Contemporary & Modern, San Francisco from Gallery Wendi Norris on Vimeo.

(My own art is sometimes very surreal, but, my artistic outlook is not intentionally surrealistic. The surrealism sometimes evident in some of my pieces results from the meta-aesthetic given by my creative aspiration, in its aim to provide a praxis for the viewer. This experience is instantiated by a combination of chance visual elements, underdetermination, symmetry, complexity, and, the aspect that most supports ‘surreality,’ occulted patterns/forms/symbols/shapes/faces/masks/beings. However, this occultation is, overwhelmingly, not a matter of my choosing what is to be hidden.)

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