Mara Comerlati (b. 1952) interviews Mercedes Pardo (1921–2005) on the day her works are being hung on the walls of Galeria Adler/Castillo in Caracas, just ahead of her show Mercedes Pardo, and later shown at Centro Arte El Parque in Valencia (Venezuela). The exhibition brought to the fore her most recent works (twelve paintings and twenty silkscreens), after six years of silence since Pardo’s last exhibition. Among the previous achievements by the artist mentioned in this article it is underscored the 1960s Premio Nacional de Artes Aplicadas in the Salón Oficial de Arte Venezolano. In that occasion, the modernist artist won the award for works on enamel on metal. Being interviewed, it is also said that she is preparing a retrospective exhibition of her graphic production for Galeria Pecanins in Mexico City (scheduled to open on February 22, 1977), just days after this encounter with Comerlati.
In fact, this interview is an important early contribution to the study of Pardo’s work, as it comes two years before her first 1979 retrospective exhibition, held at the GAN in Caracas (Color: piel, presencia meditada. Mercedes Pardo Exposición antológica). That year, Pardo was awarded with the National Prize for Plastic Arts. Both accomplishments came after three decades of ongoing art production, including her contribution to the emergence of abstraction in Venezuela in the early 1950s. While Pardo’s literature is heavily centered on color, in this interview the artist explains how she identifies herself as a “colorist” but not a “color researcher,” since her approach is not grounded in science but becomes merely instinctive perception. Pardo’s focus on chromaticism is not for color’s sake, but for its potential to generate pictorial space. Moreover, Comerlati addresses an important aspect of Pardo’s contribution to Venezuelan art by highlighting her pedagogical activities. This would become a constant in her art task. By 1977, besides working for community schools, Pardo had founded the pedagogical department of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas, as well as directed art workshops for children at the Fundación Mendoza, and was organizing a didactic program for the GAN.
For other reviews regarding this exhibition at Galería Adler/Castillo, see available in the ICAA Digital Archive: Roberto Montero Castro, “Mercedes Pardo nueva síntesis del color” (1331548); and Roberto Guevara, “Mercedes Pardo: Construir el Color” (1331532). For more detail on her art as shown in her 1991 retrospective Moradas del color, see Gloria Carnevali, “El Espacio en la pintura de Mercedes Pardo” (1102285); and María Fernanda Palacios, “Pintura y vida” (1102253).