Archive for March, 2010

Remedios Varo

Monday, March 8th, 2010

In the next couple of weeks I plan to discuss some of my favourite artists – well known and not so well known. I try to take my inspiration from a number of places and these will be the artists that inspire me the most and what their work says to me.

Today I will introduce Remedios Varo, December 16 1908 – October 8, 1963 .

I don’t like all surrealist art (and some I adore, but that’s for another post), but I love the work of this female Spanish artist Varo.

Like many artists she was influenced by the surrealist movement when she moved to Paris after fleeing the Spanish Civil War. She then had to move to Mexico after fleeing the Nazis in France! Unfortunately, she died too young of a heart attack in Mexico in 1963.

What do I like about Varo’s style? When you look at a Varo painting you are instantly transported into lands that are so fantastical that you can’t stop thinking about them. They are whimsical without being cute; they are intriguing and so very weird. Unlike Frida Kahlo (whose work I also like), Varo’s paintings are much less harrowing to look at because they are coming from such different places in their lives. The themes of Varo’s paintings are alchemical, spiritual (Catholic and metaphysical) fantastic, extremely detailed and sometimes even based  in science. The faces of her subjects are pixie  or faery-like.

The painting below, Creation of the Birds, is one of my favourites:

Creation of the Birds

The owl woman, creating birds, is so moving and beautiful. Unfortunately, you cannot see as much detail as I would like you to see here, but the symbolism is stunning.

This painting, called Embroidering Earth’s Mantle shows six women “sewing” the earth. Gorgeous.

Embrodering Earth's Mantle

I can’t stop looking at her paintings and when I look at them I instantly feel like I am falling into the scenes that she creates. I am constantly seeing something new. Once again, looking at these paintings on a computer screen does not do them justice, although there are a couple of very nice books with prints of her works available.

As always, it’s best to see an artist’s work in a gallery or museum, if  possible.

If you are in the UK and you want to see Varo’s work in person, this should be a great exhibit to take in!

Surreal Friends:
Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna
19 June-12 September 2010
Three exhibitions of work by Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna. Surrealist women artists, Carrington and Varo and photographer Kati Horna escaped the Nazis in France in 1939 to live and work in Mexico.

The website about the exhibit can be found here.