Saturday, July 7, 2007

Miriam Sagasti

Kaisa's Thoughts

Miriam Sagasti paints lovely scenes of Peruvian villages. The feeling of warmth and sunshine in these paintings is truly delightful. The tiles on the roofs look like they’d be hot to the touch, and the little gardens and potted plants all over the place make the towns seem cheerful and alive. I like the way she uses bright colors, like blues and greens, for doors and window frames on the brown and cream colored houses.

She also has more realistic scenes, like Balcon de Chincheros and Old Town Alexandria. In Balcon de Chincheros, the lighting is so realistic, you feel like you could reach out and touch the building, and Old Town Alexandria gives a feel of winter solitude and elegance.

Steve's Thoughts

I've been noticing Miriam Sagasti's paintings and giclee prints for the last year, since they showed up at Little Luxuries and Brick Alley Books in Hillsborough. Because that is a small shop, the works there were smaller pieces. What we saw at Art and Soul were larger, and some were in a different style.

A favorite of mine, Blue Balcony, is stylized, working in the abstract as well as being representational. They are brightly colored, light hearted, full of sun and light, and play with patterns, almost as a quilt might. The slopes of the Andes, in the background of this and many of her paintings, seem almost to be draped with quilts at their lower elevations. Lovely shapes and colors everywhere - and while the colors are bright, they are never garish. Harmony and peace prevail. These are quietly happy paintings, and the feelings are contagious.

As Kaisa mentioned, blue balconies and window frames on white or cream colored buildings is a common theme, almost a signature element. Village Downtown is another fine example, with a more elaborate array of balconies. In the background the Andes appear arranged in harmonious symmetry, again reminding me of the peaceful beauty of quilts. One of the mountains is a volcano, and the way the smoke is painted made me smile and stare. I believe these paintings make her happy to paint them; you can feel it.

While most of her work is graphic, playful, almost childlike in the choice of colors and composition, others are more realistic. Balcon de Chincheros is an example. Though it is still ostensibly about a balcony in a bright color (blue green) for me it was more about the games of shapes and positives and negatives. The cut-outs in the balcony rail are playfully handled, sometimes with dark background, sometimes with light. I loved the game being played with the wrought iron lantern hanger and its shadow. The bit of green door on the right hand edge, and the amount of sky showing are also deliberate and deft composition decisions. They set the piece in balance and your eye in motion. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite between this piece and her more playful, colorful paintings.

Miriam Sagasti has a beautiful website, and some of her work is available as prints. Go check it out - and you owe it to yourself to see her work in person.

1 comment:

Pagan Sphinx said...

Miriam's paintings are sweet and lovely. Thank you for connecting me to her website, Steve.

I'll have to check this blog regularly now. Good work Kaisa and Steve!