Francisco Matto - Works 1944-1992
This 1993 exhibition, encompassing nearly fifty years of Matto's paintings, wood reliefs and sculpture, was the inaugural show of the Cecilia de Torres Gallery.
The invitation noted:
Francisco Matto's work is a subtle fusion of Indoamerican art and geometric abstraction. "Magic", he asserts, "is the most worthwhile element in this world."
His wood constructions, like Circular Structure (1968), retain references to the natural world and to spiritual and even magical powers within a structured geometric format. He deliberately chooses to leave the texture of the rough wood bare or lightly painted. He treats symbols as a means to achieve a ritual function beyond mere aesthetics.
b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay
At the age of twenty-one, 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 Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles, and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.
In 1969, Matto won the first prize for the silver coin he designed for the Central Bank of Uruguay, awarded by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1982, he was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Art, for Matto, was a means of communicating with the divine, and the elemental forms of his sculptures became vehicles to facilitate the quasi-religious function of his art. In his Totem Series, Matto sought to develop the animistic principle through the liberation of the sign.
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