A Pictographic Exhibition
|Artists Jaime Mastranzo and Guadalupe Sum|
I met Jaime in Granada, Nicaragua, in the middle of a poetry festival. I liked him the moment we started talking and he let one thought fall from another with such insight and observation. Which is funny, because his figures don´t have mouths. They express themselves with their eyes, or at times, their music.
We met again by chance at a concert in Xela, Guatemala. He was sat beside one of the figures I'd seen in his drawings - his friend Jafael. The three of us went to the park where Jaime and Jafael took it in turns with the guitar.
In the drawing, Jafael has lines of movement and energy that come from him and his guitar and reverberate throughout his surroundings. As he played, three drunk men who had been asking us for money gathered around and started clapping and dancing. One by one they each gave him a coin. Then they all hugged each other, drunkenly sharing some truth of brotherhood.
That's how Jaime paints - not just with technique, but with life. His reading, his living, his experiences all pour into his art.
As we head to the gallery, I notice he's holding a book called Oceano Mar. Then there it is in his work - the sea. Turquoise is his favourite colour - I see both his travels and my own painted within it. Water colours capture the fluidity of a life lived in motion.
But throughout the recurring images of travel - sea, boats, different types of architecture - is the grounding of home. The houses beneath the gazer, the small town on a boat, the six stars that represent his family, the trees that show the roots of a rich Mexican history and culture.
And the image throughout it all - a spiral, a shell. Jaime says he's interested in semiotics - in the language of signs. The shell represents time. It's a movement inwards or outwards depending upon the gaze. It has a connection with the rest of the world. Its part of his obsession with fractals - segments which contain the whole.
For me, this simple form ties together his work. It's a balance I find myself trying to make - between movement and stillness. It's a home you take with you.
Jaime Mastranzo's work can be found in exhibition Friday 15th March at 18:30, 3 Ave. 7-35, Zona 1, Quetzaltenango (Xela). His work will be shown alongside that of the Guatemalan artist Guadalupe Sum whose work aims at capturing the magic and mystery of the city.