Byron Galvez

Byron Gálvez (October 28, 1941 – October 27, 2009) was a Mexican artist who was primarily known for his painting but also created sculpture, including monumental works. He was born in rural Hidalgo state, to a father who played jazz music and read literature, a rarity in 1930s rural Mexico. However, it exposed Gálvez to culture, even though this led to an interest in visual art rather than musing or writing. He went to Mexico City to study art at both the undergraduate and graduate level, but never completed his degrees, opting instead to begin career after his coursework. Before his first individual exhibition, his work was criticized by Justino Fernández, but all of the paintings were sold in advance to foreign buyers including American actor Vincent Price, who called Gálvez a “Mexican Picasso.” Gálvez then managed to replace the forty five paintings for the exhibition in a week. Since then he had individual and collective exhibitions in Mexico, the United States and other parts of the world. He concentrated on painting, which he is better known for, in the 1970s and 1980s, but moved on to sculpture, including monumental works later in his career. Recognitions for Gálvez’s work include membership in the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana, a retrospective at the Palacio de Bellas Artes and two books published about his life.

 Gálvez’s work included painting, sculpture, etching, lithography, and drawing. For Galvez, art was spiritual and disconnected with physical logic, when only aesthetics mattered. Female figures are common, and often are sensual. He work has been influenced by the Cubism of Picasso and Georges Braque, by African and Oceanic folk art and by pre-Columbian sculpture. He preferred large scale works often bigger than seven by seven feet.He painted while listening to classical, jazz and occasionally, rock music.Galvez’s work experienced periods in which different artistic currents dominated including expressionism, abstract art and mixtures of the two.In his work, he tried to achieve a balance between figurative and abstract expression.The first stage of his painting was figurative expressionism, then abstract expressionism, under strong influence of Carlos Mérida, Rufino Tamaho, Santos Balmori, Kandinsky, Wifredo Lam and Picasso, along with some from classical painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio . Then for some time, he practiced abstract art, but then felt the need to draw human bodies again, especially female ones because he felt it allowed him better expression.Around 1980, he moved on to geometric figurativism, marked by the “Woman” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.This has also been describes as “pure chromatic constructivism."He considered himself primarily a sculptor and painted in that fashion.

 Despite their abstract quality, his paintings have an intense romanticism which arises from a mixture of nostalgia and affection, showing the influence of Rodríguez Luna and Santos Balmori His use of color and texture shows influence from the work of Rufino Tamayo with many works showing the forms of Picasso and the color schemes of Tamayo. He considered Picasso to be the greatest artist of all time. (vision) He works in “cold colors” and used chiaroscuro (a technique from Rembrandt) to indicate movement.
As student he specialized in painting but he also created sculpture and monumental pieces. During the 1970s and 1980s, he concentrated on painting but never left sculpture completely.He began doing sculpture though his work with murals, with his initial sculptural work showing the influence of Manuel Felguérez (seen in later pieces as well) with sculptures evolving from two dimensional to three. His European travels influenced his sculptural work with exposure to the works of Henry Moore, Brâncuși and Chillida. A visit to Stonehenge influenced his sense of space and Mesoamerican influence comes by way of his cultural heritage.His sculptural work is mostly in metals, with both geometric and figurative designs, which include reliefs and bronze sculptures.There are also mixed-media pieces such as metal fountain work on a mosaic base.Latter sculptures often feature feminine figures that float in space, gazing upon the onlooker and often sensuous. His sculpting work influenced his painting and vice versa.Wikipedia

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