Pintura abstracta: Rust, Gold, Black
107.9 cm x 106.7 cm (42 1/2 in. x 42 in.)
(La Plata, Argentina, 1931 - )
Latin America, Argentinean
Medium and Support:
Acrylic on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Cecilia Buzio de Torres, 2004
In 1970, soon after moving to New York from Buenos Aires, César Paternosto began a series of paintings in which he explored, literally, the limits of the painted surface by leaving the front of the canvas white and painting forms on the edge of the stretcher. These works were a synthesis of earlier Argentine explorations into the sculptural possibilities of painting (by the Madí group in the 1940s) and more recent American developments in Minimalism. By 1974 he was making multipart paintings, such as Pintura abstracta, in which the white wall between the panels further complicates the physical and sculptural presence of the work. To look at this work, the viewer has to physically move around it, reconstructing a composition that cannot be seen from a single viewpoint. Although responding to Minimalism, Paternosto was also making a claim for the continued relevance of painting by rejecting the industrial materials favored by his American peers. Pintura abstracta was one of Paternosto’s last paintings in this stark style; when a 1977 trip to Peru and Bolivia opened his eyes to a more ancient tradition of abstract art in Inca stonework and textiles, he embarked on a long and fruitful investigation into the pre-Columbian sources of abstraction.