Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

 Carlos Mérida comments that in Mexico xylography [wood engraving] has become the prevalent artistic trend of the time. He describes some characteristics of this technique, such as the use of pure contrast between light and dark. On the other hand, he remarks that even though xylography seems to be limited in its possibilities, it offers infinite opportunities for visual creativity to those skilled at it. Mérida names several artists dedicated to this art form, including his students, among them Isabel Villaseñor. Last, the author reviews the exhibition by Villaseñor at la Biblioteca Nacional [National Library] where, according to Mérida, her graphic work stands out. Mérida states that she represents a valuable new exponent in Mexican xylography.

Annotations

The text by Carlos Mérida (1891-1984) emphasizes a critical view of Isabel Villaseñor’s work. It differs from the text by Diego Rivera (1886-1957), where the painter emphasizes some of the artist’s characteristics that refer to gender rather than to her artistic production with sentences such as “los nervios de una mujercita fina y preciosa” [the nerves of a fine and lovely little lady], or “Isabel Villaseñor la de los ojos bonitos, se parece por la belleza de su exterior e interior y su producción, a un esbelto cacto en flor” [because of her inner and outer beauty, and her production, Isabel Villaseñor, the one with the pretty eyes, resembles a slender cactus in bloom]. In this article Mérida makes no reference to Rivera’s text, written during the same period; he mentions, however, the exhibition catalog, written by Fernández Ledesma, about which he regrets that it is mere literature and not a technical study of the artistic personality of the exhibiting artist.  Mérida´s activity as a critic started soon after he arrived in Mexico in 1920. He wrote more than 200 articles in publications such as, among others, El Universal Ilustrado, Nuestra ciudad, Boletines de Carta Blanca. He wrote extensively about such diverse topics as dance, popular art, Mexican as well as international painting and sculpture, design, and photography, mainly.

Researcher
Leticia Torres : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Alma Mérida, Mexico City, México
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional