Germán Venegas, n. 1959

Germán Venegas, formerly one of the members of the "Neo-Mexican" movement, is now entirely focused on exploring the spiritual side of painting. He was born in Magdalena, Tlatlauquitepec, Puebla in 1959. Studied in “La Esmeralda" (Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado) from 1977 to 1982. His first solo show was in 1984. When Venegas began incorporating shallow-cut wooden figures into his paintings, the agitated painterly backgrounds and neoclassical poses and architectural fragments seemed influenced by Italian Neo-Expressionism. But as he has given more scope to his talent for carving, presenting true bas-reliefs rather than paintings with attachments, the Italian echoes have faded. Part of the strength and assurance of his recent work derives from the fact that he is now operating within a Mexican tradition, making creative use of materials and methods that he can claim as his own. These roughly carved folk sculptures often show caricatured faces of old people of indeterminate gender, and they frequently sport long manes of coarse hair made of lengths of frayed rope - details that can also be seen in Venega's figures.