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César Paternosto, Rhythm of the Line 2019 Winter/Spring



César Paternosto, Rhythm of the Line

Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. is pleased to present “Rhythm of the Line,” an exhibition showcasing a selection of Argentine artist César Paternosto’s paintings, works on paper, and sculptures from the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Paternosto’s earlier work from the 1980s and early 90s were heavily influenced by the pre-Columbian ceramics, textiles, and stone sculptures which he encountered during his travels throughout Latin America. During those years, he infused his work with a color palette of sandy grays, ochres, and earthy red tones, while at the same time maintaining an understanding that, in the absence of “the written word,” the function of color, the line, geometric designs, and archetypal gridded forms in pre-Columbian art held a symbolic function.

The artist’s later work, on view in “Rhythm of the Line,” continues to engage in a conversation between line, color, and space, while pushing this dialogue even further with certain formal innovations. The exhibition showcases two of his series: Hilos de agua (Water Threads) and Confluencias (Confluences). The first is comprised of white canvases with sparse watercolor pencil lines that seep down the surface of the canvas in vertical patternings, creating rhythmic pulsations of diluted colors and blank space. The later series merges the rhythmic alliterations of his earlier streaming lines with orthogonal and gridded lines that bisect each other against backgrounds infused with more deeply saturated tones than his original palette, ranging from vibrant vermilion red to deep Mediterranean blue. 

“Rhythm of the Line” stands testament to the continuity of formal elements which César Paternosto began to appropriate in the late 1970s throughout his travels in Latin America, and those which he has developed upon and continues to employ to this day. Above all else, this exhibition captures the innovations that have emerged in the later decades of the artist’s oeuvre.

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César Paternosto

b. 1931 La Plata, Argentina – lives in Segovia, Spain

After beginning his career working in an informalist mode, followed by a brief period of lyrical figuration, Paternosto first created artworks based on Geometric Abstraction in the early 1960s.  By the end of this decade, his formal and theoretical explorations led the artist to push beyond the very boundaries of the medium of painting.  Leaving the surface of the canvas blank, Paternosto shifted the emphasis of his artworks to their outer edges, converting his paintings into objects, and rebelling against the inherited tradition of only viewing paintings frontally.  Since this breakthrough, he has remained on the vanguard of abstraction in both New York, where he lived for over four decades, and Latin America. 

In addition to his career as a painter, Paternosto has studied Pre-Columbian art with academic rigor.  This expertise has  not only influenced his artistic practices, but has also led him to assume scholarly and curatorial roles, including the international exhibition, Abstraction: The Amerindian Paradigm. In 2005, the artist moved to Segovia, Spain, where, just a year prior, a major retrospective of his work had been on view at the Esteban Vicente Museum of Contemporary Art.  Paintings by Paternosto are found in various prestigious collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland; and the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany, amongst others.  


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