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.
BETWEEN SPACE AND TIME
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.
Chains Under a Blinding Sun
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.
America 500 Years: Glory and Cruelty
NEV Editions 1996
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