In­ner Self

A se­ries of Este­ban­vi­cente’s ab­stract gar­den-in­spired paint­ings is on view at Lewallen Gal­leries

American Fine Art Magazine - - Gallery Preview: Santa Fe, Nm -

Through July 15

Lewallen Gal­leries 1613 Paseo de Per­alta Santa Fe, NM 87501 t: (505) 988-3250 www.lewal­len­gal­leries.com

In 1964, Este­ban­vi­cente (1903-2001) bought a Dutch colo­nial farm­house in Bridge­hamp­ton, New York, where he and his wife Har­riet would live from May through Oc­to­ber, re­turn­ing to their Man­hat­tan home for the rest of the year.they put in a large flower gar­den that be­gan just out­side his stu­dio door. Its col­ors and the clear light of Long Is­land had a great in­flu­ence on his later paint­ings.

Har­riet re­called, as quoted in Elizabeth Frank’s bi­og­ra­phy of the artist,“spain is a coun­try of flow­ers grow­ing out of rooftops, in cracks, in pots of all sorts, in tin cans, in the wild, and also quite in­sis­tently pok­ing out of cul­ti­vated fields.the in­ner eye re­tains all of this for the fu­ture.as a child, Este­ban use to lie doz­ing in the shade be­neath his aunt’s rose bushes in Toledo.there must have been the color, the scent. But at four, Este­ban was not yet ready to con­fess his feel­ings and sen­sa­tions, re­tained and per­haps al­ways sought later by his mem­ory.”

Vi­cente came to the U.S. in 1936 after pe­ri­ods of paint­ing in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris. He be­gan to aban­don his rep­re­sen­ta­tional style and ex­plored the avant garde, no­tably ab­strac­tion. He was a mem­ber of the New York School, which in­cluded col­leagues and friends Franz Kline, Jack­son Pol­lock, Mark Rothko and Bar­nett New­man. He spent much of his ca­reer as a teacher.

His late paint­ings from Bridge­hamp­ton are in the ex­hi­bi­tion Este­ban Vi­cente:

The Gar­den Paint­ings through July 15 at Lewallen Gal­leries in Santa Fe,

New Mex­ico.

His post-rep­re­sen­ta­tional paint­ings were ex­plo­rations “to find out what paint­ing is all about,” he said. Rather than fol­low­ing dog­mas, his was a search to ex­press his in­ner self through color and form. His late gar­den paint­ings have a translu­cency and sen­si­tiv­ity to color and light that came, partly, from his ob­ser­va­tion of light and at­mos­phere on the color of the flow­ers in his gar­den as they bloomed in rain and sun­shine, and as they slowly faded away.

The mem­ory of his aunt’s rose gar­den as a youth and his ex­per­i­ments with color and ab­strac­tion after mov­ing to Newyork are part of a con­tin­uum that evolved into his con­tem­pla­tion of his gar­den. In his es­say “Paint­ing Should be Poor” he wrote,“…any one of my paint­ings is part of a se­quence, part of a total….each paint­ing is solved in its own way, yet the con­tin­u­a­tion, the process, en­velops all of them.” He also wrote,“if I have to say some­thing about the sub­ject of my paint­ing, I might say that it is an in­te­rior land­scape.this im­age be­comes the sub­ject. It is al­ways the same idea, the same im­age—from an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In his es­say for the ex­hi­bi­tion, Ken­neth R. Mar­vel writes,“the forms and col­ors had at­tained an ethe­real, even spec­tral pres­ence, of­fer­ing a sense of the pro­foundly med­i­ta­tive. They em­anate an aura of tran­quil­ity

in the way a Co­leridge or Wordsworth poem, read softly, might do…the works in this ex­hi­bi­tion rep­re­sent Vi­cente’s ma­ture evo­lu­tion as an artist. The paint­ings pro­claim a deep love of beauty, yet the images are al­lur­ingly am­bigu­ous and fluid, their con­tent evoca­tive but never mimetic.they have the fresh­ness and vi­tal­ity that only great mas­ters pos­sess.”

Este­ban Vi­cente (1903-2001), Forma Color, 1998. Oil on can­vas, 52 x 42 in.

Este­ban Vi­cente (1903-2001), Un­ti­tled, 1999. Oil on can­vas, 52 x 42 in.

Este­ban Vi­cente (1903-2001), Evo­ca­cion, 1997. Oil on can­vas, 52 x 42 in.

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