The curator and art critic Ruth Auerbach interviews Mercedes Pardo (1921–2005); their conversation is interesting because, during their discussion of Pardo’s extensive career, she talks at length about important aspects of her work, which Auerbach has studied in great depth. It is enlightening to hear Pardo admit that she is aware that she possesses a special “gift” for working with color and for discovering new harmonies. It is also interesting to hear her explain her relationship with the Los Disidentes group when she lived in Paris in 1950, given that she was married to Alejandro Otero, the leader of the group. Pardo clarifies that she was not a member of Los Disidentes: “I worked separately from the group,” she says, “because I wanted to do things a little more methodically. Los Disidentes, on the other hand, were all painting freely and exploring the world on their own.”
This document includes other valuable information, specifically about the active role that women began to play in Venezuelan art in the 1950s. Referring to that decade and to the myriad Abstract and geometric works being produced at the time, Ruth Auerbach says: “Women like Gego, Mary Brandt, Elsa Gramcko, and you were key figures who, each in your own way and based on your own research, challenged the status quo and, with great persistence and critical sensitivity, introduced modernism to our country.” Pardo then talks about what it meant—and still means—to be a woman artist in a country like Venezuela, “where most of us do not believe in ourselves, and either work to satisfy ourselves or to satisfy demand from abroad.” She states that, though she has worked steadily as an artist, it has almost always been a clandestine (even marginal) affair, “because, as a woman and a human being, I have always worked and have had to steal time from all my other responsibilities to produce my art.”
It is also interesting to note the artist’s positive views about the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, and to hear her echo Otero and other artists of her generation in acknowledging the great talent and intelligence of the painter Antonio Edmundo Monsanto as an artist, human being, and educator.
For more information about Mercedes Pardo and her work, see the article by Roberto Guevara “Color y módulos en Mercedes Pardo” ; Alejandro Otero’s remarks in “Mercedes Pardo: color de la serigrafía” ; the article by Bélgica Rodríguez “Mercedes Pardo: 1951–2000” ; and Margarita D’Amico’s interview “Mercedes Pardo: 1 x 9” .