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Margarette Dawit’s Guanajuato Landscapes

By Margaret Failoni

During the latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, many European and North American artists discovered the magic of the desert-like central Mexican landscape.

Guanajuato Landscapes, By Margarette Dawit, Sat, Jan 14, 1-4pm, Galería 6, Jardin Principal, Pozos 

During an exhibition at the Banamex Palacio Yturbide building in Mexico City, I saw for the first time some magnificent paintings by Prendergast and, of all people, D.H. Lawrence, all depicting scenes from the central part of Mexico. Shortly afterwards, landscape painting fell out of style in this country, to be replaced by politically driven works and ‘fantasia magica’ styles of the muralists and modernists of the mid century.

It is, therefore, interesting to discover the return of important Mexican landscape painting —in this case, created by a transplanted South African artist who has planted deep roots into Mexican soil.

Greatly influenced by the magic of Guanajuato’s Picacho mountain range and the flora growing at its base, Margarette Dawit has created a series of magnificent works,  in oils on canvas, acrylics and pastels, perfectly capturing the allure of the succulents and cacti scattered across a golden ground, with the pale purple of the Picachos embracing it all. Dawit is not the only contemporary artist to rediscover the art of landscape painting but is certainly one of the best. Without working in the hyperrealist style, and heaven only knows she definitely has the bravura to do so, Dawit perfectly captures the magic, the fleeting moment of the wind blowing through the Huisache and Mesquite trees. Camus described the magic of the desert-like landscape of North Africa as the music of silence and meditative perfection and this is the same magic Dawit has captured in these works.

The paintings in this exhibition, created to be shown in Pozo’s Galería Seis space, will prove once again that Margarette Dawit is without a doubt one of the most gifted artists of her generation and, luckily for us, she lives and works in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.

A tour de force of landscape painting

Nick Hamblen

It has been three years since Margarette Dawit last painted and showed her breathtaking landscapes. That show, also titled “Paisaje Guanajuatense” (Guanajuato Landscapes) remains to date one of the most successful shows ever exhibited at Galeria 6. To say that we are excited and honored to announce her return to landscapes and with our gallery is quite the understatement.

Though I believe anyone familiar with Dawit’s work would immediately recognize any of these canvases to be a Dawit there has naturally been an evolution in style from her previous group of landscapes to those being presented here. What remains, and deliciously so is the artist’s intuitive ease of capturing the moment. There is in a Dawit landscape a silence, a calm that draws me in and makes me wants to climb inside. There is often also a sense of the gentle breeze, somehow more heard than seen when peering into these canvases.

As with all Dawit offerings the star of the show is arguably color. Or is it brushstrokes? Or composition? Regardless of your opinion or answer to this question (which of course requires no answer) I can report that in this work there has been an evolution of color as well as with brush stroke–both of which seem to echo the somewhat looser, freer interpretation and style seen in recent Dawit shows.

The works in this 2012 version of “Paisaje Guanajuatense” range in size from the extremely large to very small precious jewels though the bulk of the work falls more to a medium sized canvas. This is, in my opinion a tour de force of landscape painting, the likes of which we seldom get to witness in our corner of the world and of which I urge you to come and see for yourself.

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