-- A Cyberspace Review Of The Arts

Volume 17.6
October 6, 2009

Robert Sievert
Editorial Associates:
Eva Sievert


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Artezine is a New York City - based review of the Arts and Culture by artists for artists.

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click on picture for press release

Alicia Amador: NO SOMOS IGUALES (Egg tempera/canvas, 35.4" x 35.4", 2009)

Those Va(r)nishing Days

Taller Artifex at Blue Mountain

by Robert Sievert

Tempera is the oldest known type of painting known. It was used in early Egypt and Greece and remained the reigning art technique until the development of oil painting in the Renaissance. Not being that familiar with tempera myself, I will give you what I know. One works on a panel or canvas with pigment that is mixed with egg yolk. The process has always seemed difficult to me as one has to amass dry pigments and mix them on demand. Also one can only mix small batches at a time and this medium is fast drying. But I have seen some remarkable work in tempera. New York artist Tomar Levine painted an unforgettable still life using tempera. To this day, years later, I remember the clarity and brilliance of the painting, especially notable, a robin's egg placed on a saucer. What is most memorable is the radiant blue of the bird's egg. Tempera can have some dazzling effects So when a show of beautiful paintings with a spirited glow and done in tempera arrives it seems like a special event. THOSE VA(R)NISHING DAYS was the title of an exhibition of a group of artists from Mexico City who all work in tempera. (The play on vanishing/varnishing is elaborated in their catalog). The group seem to be a studio, Taller Artifex, who produced a beautiful exhibition seen this summer at the BLUE MOUNTAIN GALLERY. This is a most compelling group of artists. They work in a variety of styles but there was a remarkable consistency to the work. There was a wonderful warmth to all the work in this show. Was this the quality of tempera that we are unused to seeing, or was this just a special group of artist? Whether it was one or the other or perhaps both, the show had a special radiance to it.

Alicia Amador: MI PROPIA VERDAD, Egg tempera/canvas, 35.4" x 35.4", 2009

Alicia Amador (see above, and first page) has a beautiful loose style of working in which figures seem to amass themselves in an atmosphere created with color and deep tonalities. Without linear definition, there is a floating formlessness to this work. It is brought into focus with overlaying colors, rich and intense. Figures intertwined with darkness. I have no idea what makes this painting so smashing but it was the highlight of the show for me.

Oscar Ojeda: De Monstruos y Prodigios (Egg tempera/oil/pan de oro/linen)

Oscar Ojeda paints loose brushy surfaces over which he inscribes words and simple cartoon drawings. There was a more direct hipness to this work. He seems to reference Basquiat and the artists of the graffiti movement. The inclusion of text and simple drawings gave the work immediacy.

Alejandra Barrera: BUSCÁNDOTE (Egg tempera/canvas, Díptico 39" x 23", 2009)

Alejandra Barrera's figures are more formed and have a heroic stature to them. Her work is especially strong compositionally. Her figures fill the space and create a dramatic situation much like the great Romantic painters.

Rebeca Martínez: Incógnitos (Egg tempera/paper, 39" x 27.5", 2009)

One has to admire the paintings of Rebeca Martinez, her images of masked figures are powerful and mysterious. Her characters seem to be at some carnival-like masked ball. They peer out with empty eye sockets and ghostly beauty. Martinez works in careful detail and creates forms in a painterly manner, her rendition of drapery and knots of hair are carefully modeled and on the mark.

All of the artists in the group seem to be talented and dedicated.

Taller Artifex is to be congratulated on presenting an exhibit that was consistent, elegant and illuminating. They have given tempera painting a new face in the contemporary art scene.


Catalog of the Exhibition (PDF)

Copyright © 2009 Robert Sievert

David Mollet at the Bowery Gallery

Socrates Goes To The Country

German Art at Blue Mountain Gallery

Lousie Guerin at Blue Mountain Gallery

Nicolas Carone at Washburn Gallery

Diana Manister: Visual Poetry

A New Format

Artezine 16

Artezine 15

Artezine 14

Artezine 13



October 6, 2009