AMERICA SERIES OF PAINTINGS                                        

The compositional structure formulated for the themes of each group of paintings in Kanso' Split of Life series (1974-94) reveals a transition to a radically new approach in the  Cluster Paintings (1986-88), and subsequently, in the compositions of the America 500 Years series of paintings which base their subjects on comibnation and compellation of significant historical events in the Americas over the course of five centuries.   A crucial aspect in the principal of construction and organization of the pictorial layout  is dividing the canvas space into sections of untonomous planes extending their irregular shaped boundaries near the top of the canvas. They are dominated by dark-blue figures set against deep red and orange-yellow ground, and float in a light colored space animated with pictorial and technical elements matching the theme and surging with the rhythm running through the structured planes.  

The historical and literary dimensions of the America series provide the underlying framework an ideal basis for incorporating various aspects of human conflicts and cultures of varied layers of time within a pictorial environment defined by the juxtaposition  of distinct zones offering variations of contrasts and viewpoints, and an intimate union of reality and illusion. Technique, style and subject are merged together in evoking the emotional character of imagery embodying ideas and significations that are allusive, suggestive, polyvalent; a synthesis combining different parts into a coherent whole. The overall scene unfolds an elaborate and complex network of relationships and interlinked planes cemented in a compact compostion with an inherent dynamic of its own concepts, resources and visual criteria in confronting the viewer.











A two-part scene corresponding to two worlds, one representing Columbus and his forces, the other, a group of natives, Taíno or Arawak. 
At the forefront of the right section stands Columbus with a fierce and determined look resting his right hand on his sword and his left holding a cross. A silhouetted figure rises behind him with one arm raised, and the other stretched toward the ships' sails above a rearing horse, an armored fighter, a mariner’s compass, gunpowder and cannons brought by Columbus.
The left part depicts a dense setting fitted with palm foliage, feathers, and figures linked by their postures and gestures suggesting their closeness and unity of action. At the center, a tense looking eagle in front of a climbing tree-trunk merging with the body of a figure under palm leaves. The palm tree and eagle's feathers shelter a triangular structure of the figures facing the newcomers.


The composition depicts the encounter between the Aztec King Montezuma and the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes in a scene with two major sections separated at the top center by a V-shaped  open space containing fallen figures of a warrior and an eagle.
The right section is dominated by a figure representing Cortés reaching for his long sword drawn over two subdued figures. He is leaning
backward upon a female figure representing his interpreter and mistress known as la Malinche. The upper area shows a figure with wide-flung arms arching a horse above the figures of a priest and a soldier.
The left section shows Montezuma holding a flower necklace. His posture is reinforced by a triangular plane containing figures and symbols referring to Aztec mythical  gods and warriors.

Basing its subject on the early settlers in America, the painting depicts a scene in two sections, one on the Pilgrims who came on the Mayflower ship and landed at Plymouth, the other on misfortunate events and cicumstances surrounding earlier settlers. The painting’s two sections are parted at the center top by a red-yellow sun surrounded by pendulous forms that extend themselves over the entire picture surface.
At the top right side, dripping lines around the sun oriente the sail of the Mayflower ship and navigate toward three joined figures alluding to the signatories of the Covenant. Figures suggesting natives with objects and elements associated with agricultural staples such as cornstalks, bean vines, and squash. The lower forefront shows a clergyman above a fallen female figure holding a torched broom making reference to burning of witches.
The left section deploys a grouping of dark blue figures against a red ground blending varying levels and echoes with their surroundings


Birth 1776 bases its subject on the American Revolution and Independence in a three-part composition in which the left and right sections are linked by massive tree-trunk running upward with branches extending in all directions and penetrating the adjoining sections with texture and form suggesting organic association of cell forms that seem to subdivide and float around the figures. A fearless eagle sits at the top against a ground shaped by red and white stripes of the American flag in a space dotted with stars and symbolic forms. The area along the sides of the tree trunk reveals the faces of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The left and right triangular sections are joined by the tree trunk in establishing a unified base line reflecting muskets
 and rifles symbolizing the arm struggle and fight for freedom and independence.


The branches of the tree in Birth  germinate in Branching which bases its subject on the war of liberation in Latin America. The composition depicts a three-part scene in which a ponderous tree-trunk builds a pathway through the left and right sections forming a horseshoe around the central figures. It encircles and penetrates the planes allowing the underlying layers to give full weight to the nature and relationships of the figures in conveying the resistance and struggle for liberation. A sense of inner tension and restlessness are echoed by forms and patterns crystallizing around the apparition of faces reflecting those of revolutionary figures and liberators Simón Bólivar, José de San Martin, Antonio José Sucre, Francisco de Miranda, Miguel Hidalgo, and José María Morelos.


Chains Under a Blinding Sun

The composition deals with the theme of slavery in a tripartite structure of dauting intensity. A triple rhythm surges through the planes in which dark blue figures are set against a deep yellow surface of interlocking forms and shapes. Long lines with encircled rings run toward each other and converge under a hazy sun and expand doward overlapping the figures and inserting accents and elements associated with bondage and chains. The setting's intense concentration and compression convey an overwhelming sense of tension in the evocation of mental and physical frustration and tribulation of human experience in the spirited struggle for freedom.


Bleeding Eagles

A work on Natives depicting a scene imparting various allusions, symbolism and contrasting elements. The composition sets intense dark blue figures inside two fire-red rectangular planes whose upper parts recede outward creating a wide V-shaped central section dominated by two fighting eagles.  
The eagles span their wings in a crisscross formation scattering flying feathers over a grey-white space defined by bluish flowing forms outlining drawn faces of some native chiefs among them Pontiac, Joseph, Cochise, Crazy Horse, Black Hawk, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull.
Above the chiefs’ heads and across the upper plane, sweeping shapes of red strips with black-blue contours fuse with flowing lines of varying densities. They appear dripping in rhythmic succession  intensifying the movement and tension of the scene.


North-South Split
Basing its subject on the American Civil War and related events, the composition depicts a scene divided in three sections surrounded by light colored bluish areas of space in which schematic forms outline the face of Abraham Lincoln on one side, and the faces of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, on the other. Their heads are turned toward the central image showing a female figure diving over a child falling between two fighting figures outfitted one in grey and one in blue reflecting the Confederate and Union armies.
The right side deploys blue-black figures against an orange-yellow ground patterned with crossed hatched shapes that seem to increase in density with the gesture and movement of the brushstrokes. Circular forms of loosened chains around the figures seem to do battle within the organism of the compressed space.
The left side of the picture depicts falling and struggling figures in a setting heavy with symbolic content and allusion to surrounding events.


Glimmering Dawn
A tripartie composition that carries the tone and atmosphere of the imagery into the twentieth century. The attitudes and motions of the figures and forms appear defined by webs of fire-lit strings emerging from a semi-sphere with an umbrella shape of a nuclear bomb or explosion. Menacing lines tangle the spanned wings of a bird and extend themselves over the surface with intense forms and textures. The tripartite planar structure is dominanted by the physical presence of four figures whose postures and gestures orient the shapes and forms of other figures, and blend the varying relationships with their surroundings. The space separating the three planes reveals suggestion of sensuous figures flowing with inner matter.

Kanso's Paintings
America 500 Years: Glory and Cruelty
NEV Editions 1996




Birth 1776

oil, 365X550cm

oil, 365X550cm

oil, 365x450cm

oil, 365X550cm

(Mayflower Compact)

oil 365X550cm
Chains under a Blinding Sun

oil, 300X550cm
Bleeding Eagles

oil, 300X550cm
North-South Split

oil, 365X550cm
Glimmering Dawn

oil, 365X550cm

with installation Cluster Paintings
Kanso studio

Installation America paintings


Exhibition catalogues of the America and Cluster paintings:

- Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 1989
- Insituto Nacional de Cultura, Panama, 1989
- Centro Cultural de Buenos Aires. 1989
- Museo del Chopo, D.F., Mexico, 1990
- Sala Tulio Febres Cordero, Universidad de Los Andes, Merida, Venezuela, 1990
- Museu de Arte de Santa Catarina, Florionopolis, Brazil, 1991
- Muée de la Croix Rouge, Genève, 1992
- Palacio del Gobierno, Caracas, Venezuela, 1992

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