Structural Persuasions of Beauty: The paintings of Miguel Cortez
by Leticia Cortez
How can one begin to describe them? As one starts to see them visually; the elements he uses, consisting of thick acrylic layers, oils, plaster smoldered with kitsch, biodegradable paper, vintage photographs and found objects, begin to take shape as they are studied, seen, and absorbed. The presence or hints of images of fishes, nudes, self-portraits are executed on a background palette of rich, earthy sanguine colors ranging from burnt siennas, dark crimsons through violets and exquisite browns.
“Premonition 5” features among his first abstract landscapes with figurative nudes. In this painting, the artist seems intrigued with the dynamics associated with the futurist movement .The analytical thought process in which music is used as a source to make apparent a physical and aesthetic manifestation. Musical harmony is thus found in “Premonition 5”. The rhythmic pattern of ink and oil washes is a technique Miguel manages to define as his artistic trademark. The washes in this painting allude to a certain space, unsure if it’s the foreground or the background. A nude female figure is positioned off center among textured rock-like formations, a geological landscape made from acrylic layers and gesso. This is what first captures the viewer’s eyes. As the interior space emerges through these rock formations other forms and shapes slowly transform themselves. A light bulb and horn emerge. The space filled with red, magenta and orange colors foretelling other shapes and forms to be transformed.
Elements of frottage, interior/exterior spaces, undefined shapes, nudes and textured landscapes become a premonition of what is to come in the artistic terrain. A premonition of what is evolving in the artistic development of Miguel Cortez’s private visions. He has been influenced by artists such as: Julio Galan, Alfredo Castañeda and Marcel Duchamp. He feels these artists mastered their own distinct technique though appropriating kitsch objects into their own language, thus transforming them and making each object an independent act in order to portray parts of the artist’s internal worlds.
Miguel’s other works titled: “Cycle,” “Windows,” “Suicide of a Chair,” and “The Birth of Lilith” completed in 1993-1994 show this influence in which he also adopts new techniques or ways to convey his patterns of thought. His creation of abstract landscapes fuses new elements as his palette widens, adding certain realities as other environments start to take shape, coming as splashes of recognition of familiar items in the canvass. Through his use of color images appear as in dreams. I have tried to translate into words, sentences what I experience viewing his work. In the midst of the inherent splendor of his strokes here, color there, everything comes alive, triggering all it encounters; the new, the imaginary into a fusion of hypnotic textures.