Printmaking has been an important means of expression for artists throughout history. Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso and the German Expressionists are among the many who influenced the evolution of art through their graphics. Mexico too has an illustrious history of artist printmakers. Among these, Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo have each created large and influential bodies of work devoted to the graphic arts. Latin American Masters’ current exhibition features a selection of original graphic works by these two renowned Mexican masters.
Beginning in the 1920’s with woodcuts, Rufino Tamayo’s printmaking evolved to include engraving, lithography and innovative mixed-media works. In the early 1970’s Tamayo explored ways of creating prints that would convey the formal power of his paintings. Tamayo made mixed-media etchings, combining epoxy and sand on a metal matrix. The resulting works, when inked and pressed, created richly saturated atmospheres on surfaces evoking stone or frescoed walls. Concurrently, Tamayo explored the expressive possibilities of a wax matrix, which allowed for an even greater variety of textures. Latin American Masters current exhibit includes superb examples of Tamayo’s printmaking in classical lithography, as well as his innovative mixed-media work.
Francisco Toledo made his first prints in 1957, and from the beginning could see the possibilities of the medium. Toledo has mastered all of the classical graphic techniques. He has created a body of graphic work that, in size and expressive brilliance, is equaled by few living artists. His etchings, incised directly by Toledo in a copper plate, may have linear passages as fine as strands of hair, they may weave lyrically thru space or explode with gestural violence. If color is the key to Tamayo’s expressive world, Toledo’s is grounded in drawing. Although undoubtedly a great painter, ceramicist and sculptor, printmaking remains Toledo’s first love. The act of incision, so central to the medium of printmaking, enriches his work in virtually all other media.