Thursday, October 2, 2008

Alonso Mateo Today In Arizona

Evangelina, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 58.5 in x 90 in

The Queen Engagement Ring, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 56 in x 82.5 in

Countly, countingwishfully, Count Alonso Mateo steps on a Bentley tonight. His solo show Illusion & Fantasy opens tonight at Bentley Gallery, in Scottsdale, Arizona, a Southwestern state with a deep and long rooting relationship with contemporary Cuban art. The place where Pedro Alvarez died, tracing since a sentimental and mysterious link with Cuban painters, mostly those from the eighties.

Mateo gets into the landscape of American art after fifteen years of Aztec marauding, begun in the late Eighties and early Nineties when most of his generation moved out to Mexico in a massive exodus, later derived in a disperse diaspora. His three year stay in Miami plunged him again into the contact with the core of the old guard, his old acquaintances and gave him new energy and motives. His work, American since birth, branded by the whiplash of Pop art from magazines and biennales, solidifies its Northern, Western quality in the U.S. The proximity of the American hardware brings better material winds and his Rococo caprices get the official support from The Home Depot.

Since months ago, the imminent approach of Arizona desert and its unending cosmic sky seemed to sow a kind of Roswell spirit, a kind of a mood from Area 51 in the studio at NE 51st street in Miami, where these visions have been concocted. Extraterritorial artifacts, aliens, precious crafts have sneaked in the afternoons, with the running and noisy kids from the Children's Museum Charter School, who land en masse every day by four o'clock.

And smoking ghosts appeared, making the visitor, the neighbor to see from high the living paintings, constantly changing by themselves, from one afternoon to another. The eye of the beholder flies, looking to the wall and soaring in orbit, in constant altitude and speed. Below, stuck between, glides a shining jewel, making the Earth (the farthest plane) a blurred and forgotten background.

A single mom reports sightings of unidentified identity perpetuation objects, frivolously anonymous, suspended still, in couples, in the air.

Some eyewitness dares to testify they saw Obbatalá, (the Santeria orisha, whose festivity was celebrated just a week ago) getting into Mateo's studio an afternoon this summer, revolving all the process and bringing good Mexican white acrylic. She made the artist to paint for her three triplet, soothing, autonomous, small jewels. That's why today in Scottsdale Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, Our Lady of Mercy, recovers a space in the old region of the missions, of the Spanish Conquest. She makes the Count to put a Mercedes at Bentley.

He takes out his gold again, his golden chairs, so royal and deformed. He takes out a blind man cane from a piano bench and puts Phoenix's people to play the old Duchamp's surrealist game, that always entertains, that never ends. He uses again proven resources: cleanliness, craft, wise and witchy philosophy about simplicity and beauty, good taste and elegance. Let's see what happens next.

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