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Rufino Tamayo: A Search For The Essence

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: December, 2004
Fine art's essence arranged in a poetic milieu, within the precious limitation that encloses a piece of art, that is what I call a master painting - Rufino Tamayo

Until March 30th, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach presents Rufino Tamayo: A Search for the Essence.

Rufino Tamayo is one of the most significant artists to ever grace these shores, A Search for the Essence brings together a selection of 41 "mixographs" and 34 other works from private institutions and collectors in the United States and Mexico.

Often we're moved to say, "If You Only See One Art Show This Year.(or read one book this year - or any of the things people don't do anymore... So, if you only see one art show this year... This one is as great a choice as you could likely make. (And a timely advisory for those Motor Racing Fans - Sailing into Long Beach for the Grand Prix on the 8th? Come in a week early and catch this show before it closes).

Rufino Tamayo was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1899. Orphaned at 12, he relocated to Mexico city, attending the Academy of Fine Arts as a young adult, from 1917-21.

In 1926 Tamayo held solo shows in New York and Mexico City. His work has been exhibited continually ever since.

His career and his style constantly evolved, juxtaposing the primitive and mystical, the ideological and emotional. Tamayo's work transcended the restraints artists often imposed upon themselves.

A major part of the Long Beach exhibition are the 'mixographs'. In 1973 Luis and Lea Remba approached with a view to producing prints of his work. Although initially rebuffed, they persisted and developed their unique printing methods, the 'Mixograf'. The mixograf method, which enabled Tamayo to incorporate all manner of materials to eventually be cast in copper to form the printing plate, and as a consequence, capturing the texture and luminosity of Tamayo's original works.

Consequently Tamayo worked with the Remba's on his mixografs for seventeen-years. It was the final artistic focus of his brilliant career.

Often a Tamayo picture evokes an entire story, a novella, a book or a film in a single frame. This, cribbed, I'm afraid, perfectly describes the monumental effort to create one of the great mixografs and a personal favorite of mine.../p>

Two Characters Attacked by Dogs, 98?ó61 The Robert Gumbiner Collection "Dos Personajes Atacados por Perros (Two Characters Attacked by Dogs) stands not only as one of the most remarkable pieces, but as a true testament to the Remba-Tamayo story. The Rembas printed this work with a stone from a Mexican quarry that measured ten-by-six feet and weighed ten thousand pounds. The piece itself measures sixty by ninety-six inches, which prompts Remba to muse that "I don't know of any other stone lithograph of comparable size." From the text written by Andy Brumer for the Exhibition Tamayo at The Remba Gallery, West Hollywood, California

Two Characters Attacked by Dogs. That's entertainment.

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LamontPaul

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