Francisco Matto, Another Way of Seeing 2016 Winter-Spring

Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. invites you to "Francisco Matto, Another Way of Seeing," an exhibition of paintings, wood constructions and works on paper by Uruguayan artist Francisco Matto (1911-1995), on view February 25 through May 2016.

Matto's vision can be summarized as the search for "elemental forms."  By eliminating the superfluous and concentrating on the most important lines and volumes from reality, his works condense meaning with the most expressive simplicity.  His minimalist and austere wood reliefs, totems, and paintings, have a magic quality that derives from the organic simplicity of the forms and the delicate interplay of rhythm and proportion.  With a sensitive line and a subtle touch of color, Matto redeemed the rough surface and texture of used and discarded wood, imprinting on it the clarity and power of his unique personality.

According to Mari Carmen Ramírez, curator of Latin American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Matto's planar totem sculptures and wood reliefs blend into a single shape, and form multiple allusions to the symbols and expressions of ancient civilizations, and in particular, of pre-Columbian art.  As early as 1932, Matto traveled to Southern Argentina and Chile where he became aware of the aesthetic as well as the religious and ritualistic functions of tribal art.  Over time he put together a remarkable collection of Peruvian and Mexican Pre-Columbian art, which was a source of inspiration for him.  One of Joaquín Torres-García’s most innovative and talented students, Francisco Matto assimilated, but went beyond the constructivist aesthetic of the Taller Torres-García, creating a fresh and vibrant fusion of the old and the new.

Francisco Matto, Another Way of Seeing

Francisco Matto

b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay

A founding member of the Taller Torres-García, Matto studied painting as a child before meeting Joaquín Torres-García, the atelier's founder in 1939.  Following this encounter and encouraged by the creative environment at the Taller, Matto's artistic production shifted from his early Surrealist-influenced work to paintings and sculptures with markedly orthogonal compositions; these works were often executed on humble material supports such as cardboard and found wood pieces. 

At the age of 21, Matto traveled to Tierra del Fuego and acquired the first Pre-Columbian pieces of what was to become a major collection and an important influence on his art.  In 1962, Matto opened his collection of Amerindian art to the public. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. 

The Central Bank of Uruguay commissioned Matto to design a silver coin for the F.A.O. (United Nations Organization for Agriculture and Food).  It was in circulation in 1969 and won the first prize from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany.

In 1982, Matto was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay. He made a U shaped form sculpture in cement placed next to the beach.

His recent exhibitions include "Francisco Matto: Exposição Monográfica," 6a Bienal do Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2007; "Francisco Matto: The Modern and Mythic," The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 2009; “Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection," The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, 2012-2013.  His work has also been included in group exhibitions in Paris, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and throughout Latin America.  

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