Now 84 years old, Peruvian artist Fernando de Szyszlo shows no signs of slowing down. In his current exhibition at Latin American Masters, Szyszlo has created fifteen mixed-media paintings, which combine subtle veils of acrylic paint with a mastery of charcoal drawing. Szyszlo has a remarkable ability to “draw from the shoulder” creating bold sweeping forms of totemic power. The monumental forms of Szyszlo’s paintings, weighted with a sculptural countenance, are accompanied by a surprising counterpoint of sinuous lines, which interlace and dance thru space. Szyszlos’ “woven line” configurations evoke the delicate beauty of Peru’s textile traditions, adding poignancy to an atmosphere dominated by a violent lyricism. Titles such as “Ronda Nocturna” and “Piedra de Sol” remind us of Szyszlo’s deep love of poetry, particularly, the poems of Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz. There are a plurality of associations in these works, a vision both refined and barbaric. Whether leaning towards figuration or more abstract forms, Szyszlo’s paintings invariably express both a hunger for pleasures of the world and an awareness of extinction.
Born in Peru in 1925, Szyszlo had his first one-man show in 1947. Two years later he moved to Paris (1949-1954) where he met his Latin American peers Soto, Tamayo and Paz. Over the last half-century his paintings have been exhibited at important institutions world wide, including: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. He has also exhibited at the São Paulo and Venice Biennales.