Mark Villarreal | Taíno

Artist Statement

This body of work continues my pursuit of economy. An economy of scale, of means, a lean approach to the process of painting. Recent travels to Cuba served as both reinforcement of this pursuit both literally and figuratively. The limited means and persistent poverty that the country lives under is humbling. 
Cuba has provided me with an answer to the argument that art is a luxury, that creating, collecting and appreciation only comes after all the necessities have been satiated. 
The creative drive of Cuban artists demonstrates that the creation and appreciation of art is as necessary as shelter and food.

There are so many misguided adages cavalierly tossed out about art and art making. Do paintings with red sell better, if you put more paint on the canvas can you increase the price. One that I have always taken to heart states:
“If you can’t make it good, then by all means make it big”. 
Scale to an abstract painter is an especially important formal consideration. Mark Rothko’s works on paper and the small, almost postcard size paintings of Willem de Kooning, I hold in high esteem. I consider the paintings that make up this show as short stories. They are not studies for larger paintings. They are complete, intimate and stand on their own. Working within this shorter format, if you will, is a personal challenge for me. 
Over the years I have made smaller works, mainly on paper, but this is my first complete body of work devoted to intimacy with the viewer. What I appreciate is that while you stand in front of these small works you are not sharing them with anyone. You surround the painting. You get this story all to yourself, at least for a little while.

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