Throckmorton Fine Art (www.throckmorton-nyc.com)will open an exhibit on Dec. 1 of photography by one of Latin America’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Flor Garduño. The exhibit will present 40 black-and-white images by Garduño, highlighting her most recent work, but also including some of the most iconic images from earlier in her prolific career.
Garduño was born in Mexico City in 1957. She studied visual arts at the San Carlos Academy of the Arts at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Although she was first attracted to drawing, she was captivated by photography. In 1979, she began working as an assistant to Latin America’s greatest photographer, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002). He had an indelible influence on Garduño, but she developed her own “eye”—and style.
In his forward to the exhibition catalog Spencer Throckmorton says, “I have known Garduño for well over twenty years, and have had the honor of representing her in New York for the past fifteen years. She is an accomplished artist who brings luster to the gallery, but I also count Garduño as one of my dearest friends. In addition to her creative talents, Garduño is erudite, witty, energetic, and kind. She is well read and well-traveled. We always laugh when we are together.
“Garduño works tirelessly and as an artist she is well known and respected. Indeed, she is today one of Latin America’s most celebrated photographers. Some of her images have achieved iconic status, including Abrazo de luz (Embrace of Light), Vestido enterno (Eternal Dress), and Tótem (Totem). This exhibit highlights Garduño’s most recent work, though some of her earlier photographs are shown, too. Most of Garduño’s work is drawn from her native Mexico, but she has also labored elsewhere, including in Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Switzerland, and Poland. I have always felt that Garduño has a gift for juxtaposing facets of Latin American culture with universal themes. Even when Garduño shoots in a country like Switzerland, Latin America remains close.”
Garduño’s photographs offer poetic images drawn from nature, village life, dreams, and the female form. Her images are usually sparse, but they are elegant and richly suggestive. Garduño has a surrealist, dream-like perspective, giving her photographs a mystical quality. They elicit a “second look,” and invariably contemplation. Garduño is technically sophisticated and demanding—and her photographs are always luminous and beautifully printed.
Garduño has published many collections of her photographs, beginning in 1985 with Magic of the Eternal Game. Other notable titles include Witness of Time and Inner Light. Her photographs have been widely exhibited in Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Garduño’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of prominent museums and libraries, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bibliothèque nacionale in France, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.
Throckmorton adds that, “Befitting her accomplishments as a photographer, Garduño’s work is now studied—and discussed in prose. As well as I thought I knew Garduño, I learned about her from reading an essay by Francisco Reyes Palma, titled simply “Flor Garduno.” The essay, written in Spanish, is to be published this year in France by the publisher (maison d’édition in French) Actes Sud. In his essay, Reyes attempts to delineate the various inspirations for Garduño’s compositions (a task I would be afraid to undertake). He recounts how in her childhood, Garduño’s family had a pet deer, dogs (one of whom was actually a waylaid coyote), and twenty birds. Garduño has ever since been fascinated with animals, seeing them almost as alter egos of people, akin, perhaps, to the pre-Columbian belief in the ability of animals and humans to be transformed into each other.
“Reyes observes a lingering influence of Surrealism, traceable at least in part, he believes, to Garduño’s work with Álvarez Bravo. Reyes also sees Garduño’s early academic training, at the San Carlos Academy for the Arts, in her work today. He asserts that there are references in her work to classical imagery and mythology, and to the Bible. Moreover, her training in drawing was always grounded in the human figure, above all of women. These diverse sources of training and inspiration blend harmoniously, giving us the wonderful photographs of Garduño. Reyes is persuasive in his analysis, though, for me, there is always a lingering mystery to how artists work. In any case, I believe that this exhibit attests to Garduño truly being one of Latin America’s great photographers.”
Garduño resides in Mexico City.
A catalogue accompanies the exhibit.
Throckmorton Fine Art is the premier dealer offering vintage and contemporary Latin American photography, Pre-Columbian art, Chinese jades and Tribal art. The gallery participates in internationally acclaimed fairs, including The Winter Antiques Show in New York each January, AIPAD and each March offers Chinese Jades during ASIA WEEK. The gallery’s commitment to connoisseurship is underscored by its sales to such major museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Getty and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, along with the Reina Sofia in Madrid. Portions of collections the gallery was instrumental in forming have been donated to the Louvre. The gallery loans examples on a regular basis to such significant institutions as the National Gallery in London.