Press / Artículos publicados – Pedro Cruz Pacheco
Mujeres Shaíque, no. 196, Agosto 2018
The fabulous procession: sign, landscape and semantics
Paintings by Pedro Cruz Pacheco
~ Edgar Saavedra
The dispersion of the language of art finds its leitmotif in Oaxaca. Against all odds and social disenchantment, art extends here in all its expression as a disturbing act of infinite possibilities. The Guelaguetza – with a religious background – is always festive, supportive, it is an opportunity to give, receive, help, share with friends and strangers; the gozona is the guelaguetza of music in the mountain towns where the deity is possessive in the imaginary of the parishioners and gives the exquisite pretext to eat, drink, dance and worship. In this area there is always the artist and the craftsman – of equal value in our worldview – who participate as protagonist and crowd at the same time. It is from this wealth of life experiences that the Oaxacan painter draws. It is also the mystical birthplace of Pedro Cruz Pacheco.
Pedro Cruz, before going to the painting trade, went through many labor facets. He was a cop, brick-maker and cook (he still is and very good). The taste for plastic art was almost intuitive, it was only a matter of time and circumstance. A fundamental friend in his life was Felipe Morales, painted with exalted imagination and candor. From him he received the first painting classes and brought him closer to the aqueous world of art and its banks. De mozalbete went on to take the helm of his own ship, always in recognition of the benevolent influences of some Oaxacan masters. Then came the readings on the local chronicles, the history of art and the universal icons, some of which come from this wonderful and tragic land: the novohispano Miguel Cabrera and the contemporaries, although already deceased, Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Morales or the still always alive Francisco Toledo… all of them essential reference in our historic art corridor. These are the artists who have offered their legacy, that dialectical guelaguetza, as today as a route for the generations. An artist will always, or almost always, be a more sensitive and productive individual than a bureaucrat to sit in his bloated complacency. Pedro Cruz has chosen, and chosen well.
Cruz Pacheco trained for years to properly master the techniques of gouache and watercolor. He is an extraordinary watercolorist, although he does not neglect the refinement of other variants of painting. In addition to the calibrated handling of his transparent colors is his aesthetic intuition alluded to. It is interesting that the writer Anton Chekhov mentioned that freshness, elegance and humanity are characteristic of genuine artists. Of course, the repertoire of qualities is and should be much broader. However, when the painter expresses human virtues rather than abilities, he is worthy of recognition. Pedro Cruz has started on the right foot.
Pedro Cruz Pacheco’s imagery is abundant, full of symbols and allegorical allusions. The field where this figurative cornucopia is established is usually well proportioned, even though in his paintings we find overlapping readings. A good example is that series where an inverted hand appears (it is the appropriation of a talisman of Muslim origin known as the Hand of Fatima or Hamsa). The author made many variations with this element but wove it with a single common thread: its own morphology. It also incorporates other universal symbolic elements. Thus, tiny winged hearts and lips, eyes, fish, crescents, stars, leaves, thorny branches, boats, snails, hands, feet appear… like a happy and surreal Mexican lottery board. Each sign acquires a subjective and fantastic connotation of the painter, although it is not so far from the collective meaning, since concepts such as light, joy or divinity are linked to a very broad and coincident mysticism.
What is significant in the works of Pedro Cruz is the thematic discourse that he proposes. The idea is perhaps Cuauhtlatoatzin’s enchanted cloak after his magical encounter with divinity. Those flowers now converted into images represent hope, tranquility, peace, faith, but also absence, loneliness, incomprehension and disbelief; stages of contemplation but never of aridity. Secret joy. Allegorical wit. The simple formula of extending a field of semantic order at the disposal of a sensitive viewer. Everything is projected in an invisible circle, that is, everything happens as an apparition and the figures appear discreet to achieve in their conjunction a sentry box towards the landscape. We see what has happened, not how it happened.
Another characteristic of the author are his elongated characters. Thus he marks a distance with his predecessors and has fun unfolding virgins, birds, trees, mermaids, couples in love or cacti. His religious characters acquire very particular and unexpected nuances. For example, they may fly the flags of Mexico or the United States, grow trees on their backs, levitate with an air of naivety, carefree or simply be a diaphanous body or strange deity. The artisan symbology is also incorporated into his plastic discourse and feeds it. He proposes to those who observe elemental indigenous culture resources with the purpose of condescending without bizarre complications or obsessive impostures. For those who do not clearly identify this iconographic-plot angle, it then offers the simplified and festive beauty of the forms. The truth is that beyond binding references we like to observe the gracefulness of the characters. Its expressiveness of healthy pleasure, the witty juggling, the cheerful color without being loud, in short, the fabulous precession through which the Oaxacan painter leads us.
OAXACA DE JUÁREZ, JUEVES 27 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2008 / ÉPOCA II, AÑO 3, NÚMERO 914
Adiario – translation
Brickmaker by trade, painter by vocation
Among the brick ovens, not only bricks are manufactured, but also dreams. In 1999, Pedro Cruz Pacheco, a native of Santa Cruz Amilpas (outside of the city of Oaxaca), began his artistic career in a brickworks, thus becoming self-taught in the art world.
“Previously I worked selling and making bricks, then discovered the color, in the sawdust, on the earth of the brick, then the yard was my notebook, my blade, I grabbed a stick and began to scratch, and that’s how I started making my first work,” he says.
Pedro was so fascinated by the drawing that he began to investigate techniques and painters, taking as an example the master Rodolfo Morales (a famous Oaxacan painter).
“Initially I started drawing faces…after I saw a painting of Mr. Rodolfo Morales and said “wow!, this man is really painting hands and faces, then I started to improve myself,” says Cruz Pacheco.
What characterizes the work of Cruz Pacheco is the use of watercolor technique, but he also creates works in oil.
“I like watercolor because it gives momentary colors and I like these more; I can experiment with tones and achieve their creation just as I imagine them, and what I like most is dropping water, follow the path of the brush to draw the outline of each of the characters,” says the painter with eyes full of wonder.
There being few painters that implement the watercolor technique, Pedro has managed to distinguish himself, as in his works not only captures his feeling, but all of a cultural heritage, painting traditions and customs of the people, so this activity has become part of his being.
“Painting is a part of me, it’s simply the moment that I would like to never end so I paint without stopping, because if I do, I’m not happy”, he ends.