Work of arts by Victor Alvarez Ênio de Oliveira Ars longa, vita brevis Hippocrates ABSTRACT: I selected an epigraph that suggests that art is long, life is short. At first glance, one can think that the Hippocrates’ saying contrasts life and art. However, the anacoluthon between the two phrases shows, in fact, that the Greek philosopher highlights their connection. This epigraph suggests, amongother interpretations, that life and art are comparable and, therefore, they complement each other. A syllogistic conclusion would be that “Art is life”. Taking this notion into consideration, I will focus this paper on Victor Alvarez’s paintings -Self-Portrait with Feathers (2006) and Dreamscape (2004) -- to develop on formal elements and principles of composition of visual arts. By so doing, Iwill demonstrate how the artist portrays facets of his own identity through his artistic persona.
1. INTRODUCTION Victorius Commemorative Art Exhibit took place in the Art Gallery of the University of Texas Pan-American, in Edinburg, TX, in the period of September 6 - September 22, 2011. Commemorative not only because it aimed to remember Victor Alvarez was a local and gifted artist, but alsobecause it assembled to honor his perseverance and his victory over the limitations of his physical body. Victor Alvarez was born on October, 21, 1986, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. When he was six, he crossed the border with his family and started living in Brownsville, Texas. When he was ten, he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. After a whole year spent in an intensive care unit, he hadbeen told by doctors that he did not have long to live. He was then taken to Comfort House, in McAllen, to wait for death. According to Gearhart (2006: 10) “Victor could not walk or sit up or lift his head without help. He could use his left hand just a bit, but his right hand hung limp. He needed help eating, dressing, even shooing away mosquitos trying to land on his nose”. However, despite of hisphysical impairments and his perishable conditions, he was not
defeated. On the contrary, he went to school, learned to read, to write, to paint, and, most importantly, to dream. He wanted to major in computer science and work for NASA. In order to help raise funds, he designed the Comfort House Christmas cards, designed personal cards to professionals, and etc. In 2002 he was adopted by afamily and left the Comfort House. He graduated from High School in June 2006. He went to university to study History and Art. He passed away on August 2010. Indeed, his life was short; however, whether his art will last only time will tell.
Self-Portrait with Feathers - Digital Montage - 22in. x 28in. -2006
“Before I had a motorized chair, I was a stationary thinker. Now, mythoughts flow with the movement of my chair. They are fluid and continuous, almost like birds flying out of my hands.” Victor Alvarez
Balance is defined by Lazzari and Schlessier (2005: 43) as being “a result from placing the elements so that their visual weights seem evenly distributed”. Taking this definition into account, we can say there is a distribution of lines weight in VictorAlvarez’s painting. In order to demonstrate this, I will focus on the horizontal and vertical lines present in the feathers. The two feathers in horizontal position can suggest balance, movement or a flight, which can, subsequently, bring the idea of freedom. The feathers, then, would represent the artist persona’s freedom from the ordinary laws of physics. Besides freedom, another meaning brought by thesymbolism of feathers is escapism. In this perspective, the artist persona would not bear the heaviness of “reality”, thus, in order to reject it, he would seek shelter in the “lightness” of his dreams, personalized by the feathers. Additionally, the feathers are loose. This looseness can mean fluidity, lightness, but also failure. In this perspective, the loose feathers would represent an...
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