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a) JOSE LUIS CUEVAS
b) CARLOS BLAS GALINDO
c) LUPINA LARA ELIZONDO
d) JULIO CHAVEZ GUERRERO
e) CARLOS TORRES
a) JOSE LUIS CUEVAS
... Among the younger ones is Pablo Almeida, an excellent colorist that sometimes remind us of Bracque after Cubism or some of the Italian painters who irrupted after the Second World war.
b) CARLOS BLAS GALINDO
ABOUT PABLO ALMEIDA AND HIS WORK:
"To reconsider the past. To reshape it. To annul what is well known. To learn again. To think about progress as a road with returns. To drink from various sources and recycle what is necessary. To change parameters which were previously inmutable. To hold on those which are unstable. To prorogue stages (particularly the present). To shorten its intervals. To admit uncertainty as certain. To continue journeys abandoned unfinished, in search of change. These are some of the Post-avant-guard (Postmodern in origin) criteria which now substitute those that ruled the Avant-guard and neo-avant guard movements. Their influence is powerful and it has been persistent. Pablo Almeida is part of a generation whose education began when percepts being questioned or canceled today were still valid. To the generation that witnessed the schism between two periods of history. The one which saw the rise of post-avant guard movements. The one forced to define their position early on. The one that understood both set of ideas were incompatible. However, Almeida detected that the dilemma before him was unreal. That it was not irremediable. That its polarized orientation was fictious. In a waywhich was coherent with the requirements and with the circunstances of its time, this artist decided to join the post-avant guard movement. And, with intelligence, instead of rejecting the Avant-guard and Neo-avant-guard phases of art, he decided to revisit them. Provided with a wide cultural background, he was determined to use it. And to increase it. Thus, this artist´s stylistic filiation is actually a conviction. This is why, far from accepting a passive roll without a fight, he prefers to be a protagonist." From the book "Mexico, Visión Pictórica" ©1998 (249 pp) page 36.
CARLOS BLAS GALINDO
c) LUPINA LARA ELIZONDO
Pablo Almeida was born in Mexico city in 1968, in a highly artistic home enviroment. His father, Héctor Almeida, in addition to being an architec, is a music lover and highly talented pianist, and his mother, Esther Garza Galindo, is a sculptor. When the children in the family were small, family outings were often taken to museums, where the parents would give simple explanations and make easily understandable remarks. Artistic sensitivity was unlimited in the family: on the side of Pablo´s maternal grandmother, two aunts were magnificents painters, and an uncle, Gustavo Saavedra, was an art collector and painter who worked alongside Juan O´Gorman on the murals of Ciudad Universitaria; on his father side, one uncle was a professional violinist, and all of Pablo´s siblings play a musical instrument. Hanging on the walls of the family home were carefully selected paintings that had the power to capture Pablo´s attention. Pablo comments that as a child he believed that all families lived in this manner, in close contact with artistic elements, with the type of lifestyle he found so natural.
Pablo ´s interest in drawing was always a necessity for him. Not a single day did his pencil fail to absorb him in channeling his imagination, and he created with great naturalness. Proof is provided by his notebooks from elementary and secondary school, and his high school notes. Pablo recalls that on one occasion his mother was called to school because his teachers believed his paintings of female nudes represented a problem. His mother commented that there were paintings and sculptures in her home of female nudes, and that they were her son´s models.
Pablo always knew he wanted to be a painter. From a very young age, he made statements to that effect. Yet when the time came to select his profession, Pablo realized that his decision would be final, and he was somewhat hesitant; he was able, however, to follow his intuition and stood firm by what he had always desired. He investigated the plans of study of various institutions and visited the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas de San Carlos, in Xochimilco, and the escuela de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado La Esmeralda. He decided to take the admissions examinations at La Esmeralda, where he enrolled in 1986. He found his classes quite easy, and attributed this fact to his eight years of daily practice in drawing. After completing two years of professional studies and having obtained the satisfaction of selling a lot of twenty-five paintings, Pablo decided to travel to Europe to test his new knowledge and attempt to make a living by painting. He also wanted to have the opportunity to make direct contact with great works of universal art and the European avant-garde. His trip lasted one year, with periods of stay in Paris and Germany. During that time, Pablo confirmed that his destiny was painting and he confidently returned to Mexico to continue his studies.
On his return, Pablo yearned to experiment with new challenges. He remarks: "Painting has its rules, but is generally practiced in a setting of great freedom, while architecture forces the consideration of additional factors such as functionality, the surroundings, the economic factor and other factors that arise when a project is comissioned." With such considerations in mind and in a attempt to enter this new field of work, in 1990, Pablo enrolled in the school of architecture at the Universidad del Valle de México. In parallel form, he studied Russian; he believes that languages influence thinking patterns.
These are his comments: " The grammatical structure of each language structures thinking in a diffeerent manner. In addition, word in each language has their own magic, and language has the quality of transporting us in time, in history and in the emotions of a people."
On concluding his architectural studies in 1995, Pablo was able to obtaine double degrees-after complicated paperwork at La Esmeralda- and decided to take a trip to Russia. He found the experience of traveling and living in an unkown location similar to the challenge of beginning a painting: starting from zero and building with discipline, while establishing constant dialogue. Those distant places, so different from his familiar surroundings, offered the painter references, experiences, reflections and new points of view for enriching his work and were integrated into the invisible and inexhaustible storehouse that forms part of his inspiration. In addition to the visual and emotional experience of his travel, he had the opportunity to become involved in various art workshops, which at that time still remained close to academics.
One year after returning to Mexico, Pablo sought out new academic contact. He had long harbored a desire to attend the place of study of so many of the great master of Mexcican painting, including Velasco, Rivera, Herrán, Orozco, Zárraga and Zalce. In 1997, he decided to study for a Master´s degree in visual arts oriented towards painting, at San Carlos (ENAP-UNAM), in the old La Academia building in downtown Mexico City. Pablo Almeida has always enjoyed staying in contact with wellknown teachers, such as his lithography professor, Leo Costa. Almeida comments: "There is something marvelous in them, which is that vocation of sharing, and their great talent in transmitting their knowledge. I like to work in a group and participate in the conversations and discussions that develop between the teacher and students."
Pablo Almeida´s paintings evolves from the creative impulse that invites him to offer part of his being, part of his world. At that moment, he begins the individual ritual of the artist, in which he is able to distance himself from distractions and encounter his own being. From that point so full of infinity, he opens his interior dialogue, and begins to feel the needs to pour his ideas, images and feelings onto the canvas , transforming them into lines, forms and colors. It is not an instantaneous act; on the contrary, in Pablo´s case, it is a process in wich times does not exist, given that he feels that creating a piece of art does not always depend on himself. He refuses to abandon a piece before he is satisfied. Only the artist knows the moment the process culminates; he knows when he has reached his highest point: the final moment in which there is nothing left to say on that marvelous space that is the canvas. Through his painting, Almeida takes us to fantastic places where the viewer is confronted by imaginary narratives that enlace with his own experiences, with his own manner of reflecting.
Pablo Almeida´s proposal does not attempt to adhere to any movement. However, José Luis Cuevas associates him with post-war European painting, and states: "One of the youngest is Pablo Almeida, an excellent colorist who sometimes reminds us of of Braque after cubism, or some Italian painters who gained strength at the end of the Second World War." Almeida´s painting is modern because it involves a young artist who, in agreement with his times, has a current point of view. However, there is no obligation to be modern in Almeida, only the commitment to be himself.
d) JULIO CHAVEZ GUERRERO
PABLO ALMEIDA AND THE NEW ASPECTS OF MEXICAN CONTEMPORARY PAINTING.
In order to talk about Mexican contemporary painting, it is necessary to state that there are at least, two different approaches, one leading to that small group of visual producers who gyrate permanently around the "official" recognition, and another which., as observing satellites, develop in a peripheral manner in a search of basically sensitive alternatives located beyond the mirage and the glitter of the false made-it-to-the-top, constantly confirming that not all that glitters his gold.
Within this last approach, there is a very valuable vein of artists amongst whom we can find painters who have been able to project an emerging work with their always honest production, and with proposals that evade the elementary aesthetic response.
One of these art professionals who have managed to overcome the easy comment or the ephemeral stay at the top is Pablo Almeida, a young painter who, little by little, has been climbing the slopes reserved only for the great ones.
With a proposal rich in imaginary alternatives, Pablo has known how to share forums with consecrated artists, not so much for his incidence in the commercial environment, but because of his solid artistic proposal that, through non-official means, has found a way to open new paths putting sensitive quality before schematic visual rhetoric.
Almeida's work has made permanent inroads by layers of evocation of endless poetic connotation. Using an iconography wherein historic reference is denied with the purpose to revisit semantic planes with strong deep roots in the collective unconscious.
Handling archetypal symbolic contents, Pablo opens mirrors where the spectator manages to look at himself through the pictorial representation and presentation.
The canvases of this artist do not appeal to the easiness of the simple aesthetic enjoyment, nor to economic reference, or the anecdotic description of univocal interpretation. In each and every one of his works there is the alternative to play with hybridations and fantastic settings which, along the lines of a Bosco, strike encounters with hidden or dark sides in the spectator, turning the aesthetic possibility into a simple step to reach the artistic experience, the latter understood as the possibility of re-encounter with the individuality of the subjects.
Aware of this function of the artistic work, Pablo bets on the possibility of building reality through fantasy, through imagination, the option to give the spectator a fertile ground wherein it is feasible to construct dynamic stories, always in motion, never static, thus confirming that art is first and foremost, a tool to generate new forms of approaching knowledge, a taking of consciousness of our situation as mortals.
In the work of Pablo Almeida we have a vein that is now hardly becoming visible and from whence still many more sensitive findings will flourish. Therefore, we must consider ourselves fortunate witnesses of an encouraging artistic consolidation, where inroads are being made within the Mexican contemporary painting, refreshing in consequence, the very sense of the artist's activity and the possibility of refounding, in the same way that poetry does, a new vision of all that is human.
Julio Chavez Guerrero,
e) CARLOS TORRES
ENCOUNTERS OF PABLO ALMEIDA
Comparison might seem idle, being so easy, and being partial in fact, to the extent that it refers to the Isla Mujeres series of Pablo Almeida, but I think that this young artist is a Gauguin of sorts who has found in the said island his own Tahiti, his deserved tropical paradise where reality and imagination coexist symbiotically, sensuously.
But the specious time that distinguishes the history of art does not go by innocuously, for while in Gauguin we still observe a relative fidelity to landscape and human figures in his idyllic space chosen by the force of his personal legend, in Pablo Almeida one appreciates the subtle mark of several masters of painting, as José Luis Cuevas commented in his lucid opinion about this prolific creator, but within a profusion of colors and images that state precisely the abundance pounding in the heart of Pablo Almeida.
This exuberance, wisely diffused in the strict realm of medium format canvases, forces the savourer of plastic arts to amble slowly within each one of Pablo's visual proposals; this, after, and incited by, the first pleasant and even surprising impression offered us by his works.
In other words, after feeling the spontaneous fascination afforded us by the harmonic multi- coloring which characterizes Pablo Almeida's paintings, we are compelled to appraise with joyful patience the many details that make up that radiant object which has suddenly dazzled our eyes.
It is then when we find the presence of the great paint masters, who are reflected there in the same form of homage with which a writer rejoices in citing phrases or verses from his favorite authors. But this is only a minimum fraction of this complex world of strokes and tinctures which makes up the aesthetic world of Pablo.
The truth is, that Pablo Almeida is a professor of energy, able to produce abundantly and consistently, paintings which in turn evidence the power of his spirit which, as such, blows wherever he chooses and in consequence sets down, pontifically (that is, laying bridges), on multiple subjects, linking them together virtually with that instinct of beauty and meaning which only the genuine artist possesses; and only an exhaustive discipline can frame that instinct within the full, brilliant, proposals, forcing him to disseminate himself through the gay paths of beauty.
I insist on this feature of abundance in the paintings of Pablo Almeida because I think that yonder, were the common of the plastic artists are content with a single visual proposal, Pablo adds yet many others, without the whole disintegrating, without there being discontinuity nor digression or separateness, but quite the opposite, reaching a commendable aesthetic unity: the same one that has dazzled us at first sight; the same that we enjoy when analyzing in detail each one of his creations.
Just as visual arts excite the linguistic powers of the spectator and in poetry they come close enough to the essence of the plastic object, likewise music has narrow concomitants with artistic images. I say this because in a natural way, when contemplating the work of Pablo Almeida, two characters come immediately to my mind: Stravinsky and Silvestre Revueltas, especially because of their prodigality and the originality of both these master composers.
Upon arriving to the Mexican Caribbean, Pablo Almeida already had a solid academic background and a renowned artist's career, but here, in this prodigal and paradisiacal region, was were all these qualities have potentiated up to really amazing planes.
All the attributes of this zone can be applied to his paint work: warmth, enthusiasm, Dionysian elation, survival of the ancestral telluric gods, fertility, rite, magic, exuberance, cordiality, sacred feeling for the existence, vigor...
However, such virtues might just manifest chaotically if Pablo Almeida was not also inhabited by the Apollonian imperative, that ancient Mediterranean trend which imposed order on the atavistic chaos and which shed the gifts of light and rigor in the form over nature.
Such are, grosso modo , in my poor understanding, the main features of the captivating power of the works of Pablo Almeida.