Francisco Matto - Portraits, Totems and Graphisms, 1911 - 1995
An artist of humble materials, Pre-Columbian scholar and collector, aristocrat of the Taller Torres-García artists and gifted portrayer of the feminine. This exhibition celebrates Matto's portraits and VENUS totems.
"If we don't attain the elemental shapes we will never be able to arrive at the mystery." Matto
"These words, imbued with deep significance and expressed with his characteristic candor and simplicity, are the key to Matto's art and his being. Every artist develops a way of working that will best allow him to give concrete form to his vision. Matto's system resembles the discipline of Zen: the repetition of a prayer or an action that produces a state of introspection in which intuition and perceptual powers are heightened. Concentrating on the most important lines and volumes, slowly and methodically he would isolate the "elemental forms" of reality. As in the sculptures of Brancusi, the most comprehensive contemporary exponent of purist forms, the same theme is also repeated over and over, each new version differing subtly from the previous one."
Robert C. Morgan Review - Courtesy of Review Magazine (February 1, 2000)
Cecilia de Torres, excerpted from the Buenos Aires catalogue essay, Galería Palatina, March, 1999
b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay
A founding member of the Taller Torres-García, Matto had studied painting as a child before meeting 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 addition to his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Matto also executed large-scale murals, major outdoor sculptural installations, and conceived an unrealized plan for an artists' community.
His work has been exhibited at the Sálon des Surindépendants, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands; and in Spain, Italy, Germay, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and throughout Latin America. Matto's monumental concrete sculptures are landmarks in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
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