Temple y gouache / papel
26 x 20 cm COR015
This small, beautifully painted gouache shows three pilgrims, two on foot and another mounted on a white horse carrying a red banner. The dreamy scene, rendered in a palette of overlapping blues, reds, and chalky whites, recalls the early work of Kandinsky or that of Chagall. This comparison does not, however, suggest imitation; instead, Orozco Romero and many of his Mexican colleagues actively studied the work of their European counterparts in a determined effort to break with the Academy and assimilate new techniques in order to create "Mexican" modern art. Pilgrimage also shares striking formal qualities with Mérida's Profiles (Perfiles) and Sleeping Women (Mujeres Durmiendo) of 1929. In 1931 Mérida described Orozco Romero, along with Lazo, Tamayo and Julio Castellanos as "sons of a second, more resplendent renaissance." All except Castellanos participated in an exhibition called "Eight Painters," sponsored by the Mexican brewery Carta Blanca at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. In a review of that exhibition, José Gorostiza identified Orozco Romero and Mérida as exemplars of the surrealistic tendency. According to Gorostiza, the "surrealist painter aspires to express himself through pure plastic means, excluding impure or extraplastic elements, among which is narrative; conceived thusly, pure painting begins to approximate poetry." Though one might be tempted to interpret Pilgrimage in folkloric or religious terms, the abstract arrangement of overlapping elements takes precedence and the composition evades fixed interpretation. Instead, it invites visual enjoyment of color, form, and composition.