Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Artists : Installment 2 - Fernando Botero

(originally put together on October 4th, but sitting in drafts)

In the third week of September, the company I work for sent me to the city of Calgary for a week. As luck would have it, "The Baroque World of Fernando Botero" retrospective exhibit was being shown at the GlenBow Museum!! Are you serious??? I was almost beside myself with excitement to have a chance to see this internationally acclaimed Colombian artist's work!

At the stroke of 6 P.M. I bolted from the hotel conference room we had been working from and clutching my tourist magazine that contained the gallery address, I hailed a cab. The cab driver seemed to almost share in my excitement and hastily pointed out buildings and places of interest as we zig-zagged through rush hour traffic. (Very cool cabbies with Yellow Cab b.t.w.)

But alas, Lady Luck ditched me

When I finally got downtown, the exhibit had already closed for the day even though the tourist magazine listed the hours for that day until 9... possibly shortened hours due to quiet evenings in the downtown after a tough year during a global economic slowdown? Damn!! I was like a kid outside of a closed candy store with a shiny new quarter to spend...nose and hands to the glass, a long sigh in the beautiful modern architecture of the empty foyer ... (yes, a little dramatic, but I seriously wanted to see this exhibit, it was to be the highlight of my week!)

A kind security guard came out of his office and spoke with me at length about other art and theatre events possibly going on around town that evening and gave a stack of great tourist magazines and brochures. His friendliness made the evening much less of a disappointment and I headed out the door to find a restaurant till I had a chance to see if there was something I could attend within walking distance.

Uh oh
... lots of commuter and pedestrian traffic but not too much in that immediate area appeared to be open. I finally saw the welcoming open sign of "The Bistro" in the Art Central neighborhood and walked in. A lovely 2 tiered restaurant ...but empty except for 2 ladies at the bar on the downstairs level. Ah, not to worry...I would grab a bite and be on my way. My bite ended up being the best mushroom risotto and Maple salmon ( with a drizzle of lime juice circling my plate) that I had ever had, served alongside a couple glasses of beautiful wine that I regret forgetting the name of.

Calgary, you are a very pretty and friendly city... while missing out on the exhibit was an immense disappointment, your friendly citizens from the cab driver to the security guard to the young waiter of the Bistro kept the evening from being a bust. My sincere thanks!

: If you were fortunate enough to have seen this exhibit whether in Calgary or elsewhere, please share! Even if only to relish in the knowledge that I am probably drooling enviously staring at my laptop reading your comments on the exhibit!)

Now on with Fernando Botero. I might have missed seeing his art in person but there is still an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for his distinctive works.

*Please note that these are not detailed biographies but I link to all sources available whenever possible for your further reading pleasure. The pictures presented are not a comprehensive scope of the artist's work, but rather, a few favored by myself.


Fernando Botero
( Born 1932 - )

Fernando Botero is an internationally acclaimed Colombian artist often noted for his situational portraits of proportionally exaggerated figures featured in his paintings and sculptures. Fernando was born to working class parents, a salesman and a seamstress, and due to his father's early death at the age of 4 and the family's struggles to stay afloat, actually had little exposure to arts and museums. It is said the baroque style of the colonial churches and the city were to be the influence for Fernando's style. While Fernando's unique portraits are inevitably some of the most recognizable of his work, he is also noted for his still lifes and landscapes, and his very distinctive view on the violence of the Colombian drug cartels and the controversial exhibit in which he portrayed the prisoners of Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war.

Fernando participated in his first group exhibit at the age of 16, but also went on to work as a set designer and exhibit and study art in Bogota and later Madrid and Paris. Botero has spent the majority of his adult life in Paris though he still returns home to Medellin for one month out of the year. He married 3 times and fathered 4 children. He has had more then 50 major exhibits. ( ~ and hopefully one day I will finally be able to visit one! )

Hope you enjoyed this brief art stroll... till next time!

"An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively." ~ Fernando Botero

"I describe in a realistic form a non-realistic reality.
" ~ Fernando Botero

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