César Paternosto, Rhythm of the Line
In conjunction with our booth at Madrid’s ARCO Art Fair, “Journey through Abstraction,” featuring work by Argentine artist César Paternosto created in the 1980s and early 90s, Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. is pleased to present “Rhythm of the Line,” an exhibition showcasing a selection of paintings, works on paper, and sculpture which were created in the following decades.
César Paternosto’s works on view at ARCO were heavily influenced by the pre-Columbian ceramics, textiles, and stone sculptures which he encountered during his travels throughout Latin America. During these years, the artist 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.
Paternosto’s later work 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. On view are works from his series Hilos de agua (Water Threads), white canvases with spare watercolor pencil lines that drip down the surface of the canvas in diluted colors. These lines are spaced in a manner resembling a form of vertical patterning, an almost rhythmic pulsating of color and blank space. In his later series, Confluencias (Confluences), the artist conflates the rhythmic alliterations of his earlier streaming lines with bisecting, orthogonal, and gridded lines. Instead of a blank canvas, he infuses his backgrounds with tones that are much more saturated than his original palette, this time ranging from vibrant vermilion red, to deep Mediterranean blue.
“Rhythm of the Line” stands testament to the continuity of the formal elements which César Paternosto began to appropriate in the late 1970s through his travels in Latin America, and those which he has developed upon and continues to employ to this day. Through this exhibition being held in conjunction with our showing of Paternosto’s work at ARCO, we aim to create an engagement and dialogue between the two, capturing the continuity and innovation of formal elements that have emerged in the later decades of the artist’s oeuvre.
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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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