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Mario Cabrera Retrospective, Baroque Abstractions, Opens at ArtPrint

By Peggy Ebner

A classical education in art and art history inspires the work in the upcoming retrospective “Baroque Abstractions,” a solo exhibition of paintings by Mario Cabrera. The evolution of Cabrera’s work began with his education in Italy and Mexico City and continued with multiple international exhibitions and four decades as a successful professional artist. His current style marries an appreciation for the old masters and traditional representation with his interest in self-expression and abstraction.

Mario Cabrera Retrospective
Fri, Jan 30, 7:30pm
Art Print
Correo 46

The highly elaborate aesthetic of Baroque art manifests itself repeatedly in his work, both literally and conceptually but never without satire. The show contains a grouping of humorous baroque portraits inspired by Cabrera’s work with marionettes. A talented puppet maker and puppeteer, he occasionally includes his favorite characters as his subjects. These portraits evoke the sumptuous depictions of the 17th century Spanish court, but with characterized subjects in hand-modeled plaster frames. The frames are not decorated with the expected gilded floral forms but with a variety of small snakes and insects. This small satire is representative of the theme that seems to interest Cabrera most, namely the often-complex relationship between a painter and the court that supports him. His baroque-inspired works explore this dynamic, in which an artist’s creativity could be nurtured or stifled depending upon the whims of his benefactors.

The new exhibition includes stylized paintings of classical figures like angels and odalisques, realized in grisaille, along with abstracted guitars and a painting that expresses the sound of the guitar music itself. The relationship between figural representation and abstract representation is further explored with his self-portraits, “Yo” and “Luz Interior,” which portray the artist as high contrast swaths of blue light on a dark background. “Yo” has a hand-modeled frame inspired by traditional Mexican woodwork and color schemes. The frame, which one would expect to find on a figurative painting or a more traditional portrait, calls into question the usual separation between the treatment of abstract and representational works. An accomplished teacher, he has taught many courses at the Instituto Allende art school in San Miguel de Allende, one of which centered on abstract portraiture and used “Luz Interna” as an example of the concept. As part of the retrospective, the viewer sees the continuum between the concepts of the tangible and the imaginary that defines both Cabrera’s artistic work and his view of the world.

The exhibition will also contain small silver casts adapted from a monumental marble statue that Cabrera completed in 1975 in Siena, Italy. The design, which can be worn as a pin or a pendant, will be available as custom casts in pure silver.

The exhibition is now open. There will be a cocktail reception Friday, January 30, at 7:30pm with the artist. Cabrera will also be available to discuss his work in English, Spanish, Italian, or German in the gallery following the public opening. He will be present on Tuesday, February 3, from 10am-1pm and Thursday, February 5, from 4pm-6pm.


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