We are pleased to present a solo exhibition of new, richly colorful abstract paintings by acclaimed Mexican artist Ricardo Mazal. The work in this show builds on spiritual themes and revisits formal elements and techniques the artist has been exploring for decades.
Mazal's practice has always been rooted in ideas of transformation, particularly spiritual transformations. His interests have taken him from the tomb of the Red Queen in Chiapas, Mexico, to the Peace Forest cemetery in Odenwald, Germany. He has walked the Kora, a meditative pilgrimage circumambulating Mt. Kailash, Tibet’s holiest summit, and has sat in silence inside the sacred temple of Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery, one of the oldest Jewish burial grounds in the world.
All of these experiences yielded expansive bodies of multidisciplinary work. But when the world shut down last spring, exploring other cultures through travel was no longer an option. Mazal, who had just opened a major solo exhibition at the Centro Cultural Estacion Indianilla in Mexico City, returned to his Santa Fe studio in the American Southwest, where he used the quiet and isolation to look inward for inspiration.
THE FULL CIRCLE SERIES
Mazal immersed himself in an exploration of form, color and perspective. Tapping into his early years as a graphic designer, he used Photoshop to generate hundreds of abstract arrangements. He played with linear elements, bending and twisting them, as if they were turning in space. When he randomly struck a form that recalled the movement and energy of earlier prayer flag paintings, Mazal felt a spark. Over several weeks, he pored through the archives of his work spanning the past twenty years, examining and reimagining the essential elements that define it.
The idea of deconstructing previous paintings isn’t wholly new to the artist. If you look closely at his work over the years, you’ll find traces of one series carried over to the next. It is a regenerative and cyclical process that in some ways parallels the spiritual themes Mazal explores.
With each new composition, Mazal drew on familiar formal elements—from the textured geometric forms of his Prague paintings (2017 – 2019) to the singular hue explored in his color study Violeta (2019 – 2020).
In some works, such as Full Circle K 6, he borrows a painting method from his Kailash series (2011 – 2014), where layers of translucent color applied with a foam-rubber blade emulate the mountain’s snow-streaked peaks. Here, Mazal brings the rhythmic bands of blurred color to the forefront, making them the focus of the work.
But Mazal doesn’t just expand on earlier techniques, he introduces new ones. To produce the gently arched forms that sweep across Full Circle P – 19, Mazal had to teach himself to render perfectly curved lines. The experience was slow and arduous, but it opened him up to discovering new paths, including colorful, minimalist abstract compositions tilted to a 45-degree angle.
THE DIAMOND SERIES
These new works were inspired by the diamond paintings of Piet Mondrian. Mazal cites the renowned Dutch artist, known for his innovative forms of expression and restricted palette, as a strong influence early in his career. In contrast to Mondrian’s characteristic style, where he strictly confines his compositions to the horizontal and vertical planes, Mazal's abstract arrangements play off the angles of the canvas, echoing their form.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ricardo Mazal was born in Mexico City in 1950. He has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Since 2000, he has had fourteen museum exhibitions in Mexico and the United States, including retrospectives at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey (2000), the Museo de Arte Moderno de la Ciudad de México (2006), the Museo de Arte de Querétaro (2009), the Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguérez (2010) and the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, as well as thematic exhibitions in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (2006), the Museo Nacional de Antropología (2004–2005) and the Centro Cultural Estación Indianilla, among others. In 2015 Mazal’s work was included in Frontiers Reimagined, a Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale.
Mazal’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguérez, Zacatecas, Mexico; Maeght Foundation, Paris; Centro de las Artes, Monterrey, Mexico; Cirque du Soleil, Montreal; the Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai; and Deutsche Bank, New York and Germany.
Ricardo Mazal divides his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and New York City.