Focus on Art
– The Art of Social Comment
By Rob Mohr
“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”—Vincent van Gogh
Lakeside artist Isidro Xilonzóchitl brings hidden visions, liberated dreams, and myths rooted in human spirituality, to life through the use of luminous color and dynamic forms that force an opening in the veil that hides humanity’s secrets. This hunger to see beneath the surface of life is catalytic. His second-sight flows into images that awaken sensual understandings that engender social insight, and open doors into unexpected worlds.
“Every day I walk through this fragile world, something significant and unexpected jumps out and surprises me.”
Isidro art is telling us something we should not miss. He awakens both the oppressor and the oppressed with subtle, nuanced images and insights intended to change minds and modify actions. He takes a second look, moves under the surface --- sees the hidden forces that shape our lives here at Lakeside. (see - Focus on Art, Feb. 2011)
His painting, Malaba, (photo 1) expresses frustration and anger fed by desperation felt as we struggle with violent forces and realities that impede, and destroy opportunity, hope, and progressive understanding of life. Isidro’s mature voice, and his aesthetic vision, form the tough fabric of civil revolution that points to a more open future. Art becomes a way to understand and change the world.
Isidro’s focus on primacy of colors, with their spiritual and expressive dimensions, is evident in all of his paintings. Each work speaks in an intuitive, honest, and expressive language that lingers in the memory of the viewer. His use of color is explosive. Some colors pull the viewer inside, while others push forward with luminous power.
His unique logic, and way of being, encourages local artists, raises critical questions, and suggest innovative directions. His paintings jolt the viewer’s senses, and awaken a vibrant aesthetic consciousness. These visual nudges compel fellow artists, and patrons, to analyze the roles they play in the community. Art history is embellished with similar social critiques --- note examples by Goya, Picasso, and Warhol.
Isidro’s painting, Los Pastores, offers keen social comment on his artistic life at Lakeside—an inside glimpse at the dilemma artists face. Isidro riding a lake-side bird across the canvas creates drama. This is theatrical space. The pastores (Lakeside residents) unaware of their role in the drama are actors and audience, wise mentors observing the object of their council. This embedded interaction, creates significant tension between Isidro’s desire for approval, and his understanding that his life, his art, are beyond their reach.
Isidro’s analytical understanding of social realities is similar to Ryan Mosley’s (1980 -) color filled paintings of emerging cultural changes, and paintings by Richard Prince (1949 -) which elucidate the discrepancies, political realities and social brokenness that expose violent truths within North American society. (*See link below.)
“I have no desire to paint variation of works that imitate the style of earlier periods or of works done by my contemporaries.”
The integrity of Isidro’s vision and voice as an artist is his greatest strength. A core weakness in art worldwide is the large number of otherwise competent artists who embrace understandings from earlier periods, and fail to push their works through the barriers of history into new frontiers only crossed by honest creative effort. Isidro’s refusal to emulate, joined with keen social awareness, and openness to experimentation, enable him to creatively test the limits of socially transformative art.
*February exhibitions of Isidro works - Constitucion #16, Ajijic & Cultural Center, Ajijic.