The Wonderfully Weird Worlds of Remedios Varo

If you live in the Washington DC area and have a love for the various artistic styles from the 20th century, you might want to stop by the Mexican Cultural Institute sometime between now and June 18th. The Institute is holding an exhibit entitled "Beyond the Labyrinth: Latin American Art and the FEMSA Collection". While the exhibition will include the works of many great Latin American artists, artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Fernando Botero, I particularly wanted to draw your attention to one of the featured artists: surrealist painter Remedios Varo (1908-1963).

I first saw Varo's paintings when the National Museum of Women in the Arts held an exhibit devoted to her back in 2000 entitled "The Magic of Remedios Varo". As Varo's work is described in the exhibit's press release:

"In her meticulous paintings rendered in jewel-like tones, worlds overlap to create a reality apart: a chair back mysteriously opens to reveal human faces, hands reach through walls, and tabletops peel back to expose living roots. Varo wanted to know how and why the universe functioned, and looked to dreams, astrology, and science for inspiration, and to visual and literary sources for themes. She set up hypotheses and explored them in paint, opening the door to new ways of envisioning nature and the self."
Varo's paintings are spellbinding portrayals of dark, mind-bending ruminations on the nature of existence, and I highly recommend her work for anyone who has an appreciation of visual representations of the fanciful, the otherworldly, and the horrific. Go to the Remedios Varo site to learn more about this remarkable artist. Click below to see a gallery of some of Varo’s paintings.


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