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Carlos Chavez Paintings

My Work Through the Eyes of Others

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Here are some thoughts on my work.

Marianne de Tolentino, "Atelier" June 24, 1995

Before having the opportunity to observe the art works themselves, when we think of a painter from the region of the Andes, we assume that his canvases will reflect a millenary autochthonous culture; because of its intrinsic richness, and due to a desire of vindication or rescue. This has been the common denominator of the Peruvian artists who have exhibited previously in Santo Domingo. We expected from Carlos Chavez the representation of ancient myths, ranging between the anthropomorphic and the zoomorphic, full of signs and symbols of magical-religious origin. Surprisingly, we encountered a totally different theme and elements. Carlos Chavez introduces us, submerges us even, in a universe of machines and industrial forms...whose creators have been human beings, in this perpetual and inebriating desire for technological progress. The artist creates a singular powerful environment...Those (beings)...shall never be able to substitute humankind; for which Carlos Chavez shows mercy by means of a double-game of admonishment and critical humor.

Trendy, it shall still be impossible for the spectator whose sensibility has not been dulled to remain indifferent upon coming in contact with the suggestive treatment which represents a mixture of irony and candor, to which the artist's brush, always coherent, always sober, always delicate, submits his images.

This is due to the fact that the fantastic universe that the artist conjures, upon his canvases, even though it profoundly intrigues us and invites us to explore an uncommon space in which metal and cement reign, never becomes hostile, aggressive, or depressive. On the contrary, it seems that the artist feels very at ease in that imaginary world of disfigured vehicles, stairways that lead nowhere, and buildings of theatrical aspect; a world which after all, we choose to believe smiles, as friendly and innocuous caricatures would.

If I am right, Chavez, by using elements of the industrial and technological environment, displays a visual proposal whose aim is to delight, and not to provoke fear or horrify us. In the end, the perplexing mechanical objects which the artist places before our eyes serve an essentially ornamental purpose. This assumption seems to be substantiated by the exquisite neatness of the surroundings, the cleanliness and sobriety of the colors, the painstaking tonal harmony, the integration of the different and quite varied figures in such a way that they create a unique entity of abstract texture, the utilization in a totally plastic manner of the geometric components of the machines, and, last but not least, the refreshing dreamlike atmosphere which surrounds such a disconcerting, yet gentle universe of mechanical artifacts.

The excellent work and flawless technique of the Peruvian master has been placed at the service of a quite unusual enterprise: to create, starting with elements that in themselves are devoid of gracefulness, a stimulating, radiant space, harmonious and possessing an exquisite pulchritude.

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