Darío Escobar

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Darío Escobar
Blue Composition No 12
Gouache on Amate paper in artist's frames.
overall: 32 x 28 inches (81.3 x 71.1 cm)
Purchase on the Manley Fund, 2018.

Escobar, who lives and works in Guatemala City, established his reputation with sculptures that alter ordinary products--such as a gilded MacDonald's cup and deconstructed sports paraphernalia--in order to comment on global consumerism. In his drawings, such as the present one, he uses materials with specific geographic and cultural references. The Amate paper is a bark paper that originated in Mesoamerican cultures and was prohibited after Spanish colonization. (The paper is still made today but it has been redirected toward the global tourist industry.) The paint is Maya blue, which also has ritual associations. Working with a chemist, Escobar, who has a background in conservation, rediscovered the formula for this mysterious pigment. The composition of the drawing refers to the rich history of geometric abstraction in Latin America. Finally, the frames replicate a 1940s design by Le Corbusier, conjuring the utopianism of international modernism, whose impact was felt deeply in Latin American countries.

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