Alfonso Bonilla Aragón writes in 1965 about the solo exhibition of Beatriz González held at the Museo La Tertulia in Cali, enthusiastically inviting his readers to become viewers. The journalist praises the artist’s bold choice of subject matter—people who had been reported in “red” crime pages of local newspapers (“Los suicidas del Sisga” [The Sisga Suicides, 1965])—and applauds her rendition of paintings by European artists such as Diego Velázquez and Johannes Vermeer. Bonilla Aragón’s review stems from a pair of elements that he recognizes as embedded in her approach to painting: a “kitsch” focus and its provincial background, a way of reading art history and history itself both from the periphery and by means of poor reproductions. According to him, key characteristics of these elements entail the Colombian painter’s sensibility, choice of colors, flat chromatic applications (with no shadows) and, obviously, the subject matter. In an interview with Ana María Cano from 1994 [see ICAA Digital Archive (1343076)], González herself talks about growing up far from the capital (Bogotá) as an enticing view for art production.
Beatriz González (b. 1938) is a Colombian artist based in Bogotá. Her career spans six decades, from the early 1960s to today, and includes paintings, drawings, silkscreen prints, and curtains, as well as three-dimensional paintings on recycled furniture or everyday objects. González, who calls herself a “provincial artist,” appropriates and reinterprets images from the mass media and notable notorious European classic artworks; therefore, she has often been associated with the Pop Art movement, a position that she ostensibly rejects. Her work, in fact, does not deal with consumer culture itself; instead, it makes a chronicle of Colombia’s recent history. Indeed, it implies an investigation of middle-class taste in Latin America with regard to European artworks and exposes the uneven relationship between her country and the mainstream of the hegemonic centers (Europe and the United States), which is an undeniable legacy of colonialism. Beyond her expansive oeuvre, González has worked as a curator and museum education, in addition to art writing. [To read some examples of her critical writing on her own work, see documents numbers (1078663) and (1093273); in reference to other artists see documents (860646), and (1098901)].