Los Angeles

“Nueva Presencia Drawings”

Zora Gallery

While eschewing all formal pic­torial considerations as mere “tasteful­ness,” this group of Mexican humanists makes the most of limited visual mani­festos. Their victims are vignetted, perhaps relating to an indigenous pre-Con­quest inheritance; specific grotesques are rendered in full sculptural plastic­ity of form, but exist in timeless, vague vacuums of non-environmental open wash. The drawings generally possess the quality of studies, due to this care lavished on volumetric creatures in generalized isolation. In placing com­positional concerns after the diffused message of humanism, in one bolt of rapid anguish, they would appeal to mass conscience, ethics and morality before individual sensibility. And as in the cases of Arevalo, Gonzales, and Medina’s skillfully drawn figures there is yet the impression of assessing an unrealized fragment.

However Degadillo’s robed titans, up­ward struggling prisoners, and (as in­terpreted only upon a slow second reading) his corpses on a flat car are extremely effective, as are the stunted beings of Sepulveda. Where Medina’s exposures of the debilitated have given up altogether, Sepulveda has invented a band of monsters, in a classic graphic style somewhere between a soft Cuevas and an Arnold Roth, who are as en­gagingly cunning and sharp-eyed as they are deformed.

Leonel Gongora in his “Marquise de Sade” series is more direct, if less within the official program, and the better for it. Developing a cast of gnome-like characters in a comic strip of illustrations, he makes his state­ment with keen humor as if taking us into his confidence, enjoining with pointed but non-assailing satire.

Fidel A. Danieli