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
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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