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Montesinos, Victoria

914007 Mirage D'lor

Sarah FK Coble, Naples Illustrated; Summer 2000

The Universe of Flowers: Painter Vicky Montesinos describes painting flowers as an adventure. To a jaded art world, that may seem difficult to swallow. But look closely at Montesinos' pulsing, luminous blooms. Allow yourself to slowly peel back layers and layers of techniques. Let your eyes savor the beauty of each brushstroke, textural ripple and daub, the sublime variation of a single hue. Delve into the microcosm of color and texture.

"I decided to make flowers my only focus of attention," says Montesinos from her Manhattan studio. "I really wanted to explore and go inside their world, find all the textures, layers and passages in just one flower. They are like small universes. I feel captured in their beauty."

The daughter of Mexican film designer and director, Fernando Rivero, Montesinos was raised in Mexico but educated at a French School, and lived for some time in Argentina and France. Because of her father's work, Montesinos says that the movie world was one of her first influences. "I grew up surrounded by beauty and fantasy-a world where everything seemed to be possible. Maybe that is why my paintings have always had this mixture of reality with some magic element that somehow alters that reality."

It was in the Mexico City studio of master Spanish painter Jose Bardasano that Montesinos learned the rigorous veladuras technique of painstakingly building up texture and depth through many fine layers of paint. By introducing marble, sand and stone as textural elements, as well as stenciling techniques, Montesinos creates a subtle topography for her floral universe. Most notable, she is able to achieve a nearly subliminal incandescence through a medieval method of applying gold leaf to the canvas before painting. Because this process is so labor intensive and time consuming, Montesinos will spend two to three weeks absorbed in a single canvas.

Even so, due to Montesinos' disciplined seven-day-a-week, 8 to 10 hour-a-day work schedule, she has been able to produce a significant body of work. Her paintings have toured throughout Europe with those of 20 other Mexican artists. She has participated in a dozen important museum exhibits in Mexico and the U.S.

"Flowers are this incredible way for nature to show the infinity of existing colors," says Montesinos.

Victoria Montesinos is the only daughter of the well-known Mexican movie director, Fernando A. Rivero, and Maty Humana. When barely three years old, Victoria was sent to live with her grandparents. In Victoria's own words: "My grandmother was of the old school. Her philosophy was that children should be disciplined, seen and not heard, only speak when spoken to and to sit absolutely quiet when in the company of adults.

Childish fun and games were restricted because of grandmother's serious temperament. "Montesinos had few opportunities to see her parents. Her mother traveled a lot and her father was always busy. Victoria's childhood was spent in a large house in the Juarez neighborhood that dated from the era of Porfirio Diaz: She recalls, "I became accustomed to enjoying my own world. At school it wasn't easy for me to fit in with the other children, so I took advantage of my isolation to draw. Drawing was an escape from my problems and it was highly rewarding for me." Unknown to her grandmother, Victoria would go to the library for books and read them secretly. When asked expressly about what she drew as a girl, Victoria says, "I almost always painted faces and I was also inspired by my father's world of the cinema." Her father was one of the pioneers of talking pictures in Mexico and he later became a director. Today the world of cinema fulfills Montesinos almost as much as painting. It is a world where everything is possible.-

Victoria did not find many incentives at school where nothing responded to her desire to paint. However, her father valued and recognized her artistic talent. On one occasion, he notice her being very self-absorbed while drawing and posed the question to her; "Would you like to paint seriously?" Of course Victoria jumped at the chance. The opportunity to paint was provided by a friend of her fathers, Jose Bardasano, the great Spanish painter who had arrived in Mexico as a refugee from the Spanish Civil War. Bardasano had recently opened a painting academy in Mexico and Victoria started attending the school at the tender age of twelve. She studied with Bardasano for five years. Initially, Victoria was able to take painting classes only during school vacations; but painting soon became more interesting than schoolwork. She was forced to finish secondary school because Maestro Bardasano set the condition that she receive her diploma in order to continue studying with him. Victoria recalls, "I spent two years with a pencil in my hand doing school work. Bardasano's high demands did not bother me because when I drew, I disconnected myself from everything and it was a delight.

Since childhood, I have been uninterested in conventional life, and have felt that there must be a higher reason for the way things are. I thought life was boring until I understood that giving life more meaning depended on me." At that time, Victoria chose a difficult path; she decided to paint with total integrity: without submitting herself to the judgment of the market or a particular style, or to the expectations of others.

In late 1983, Victoria moved to New York to work with one of the largest galleries in the United States developing lithographic works. She studied a complicated technique to produce very high-quality lithographs. Victoria's knowledge and sensitivity enabled her to produce highly unique pieces, and all of her editions sold out almost immediately.

During that period, Victoria's talent became widely recognized in the US. In addition to a large number of lithographic editions, she sold approximately three hundred original paintings. However, in spite of her success, Victoria decided to return to Mexico when the recession of the late 1980's began to affect the United States art market. She worked ardently in her homeland and developed an outstanding new style. Through her oil paintings and serigraphs on textiles she gained fame and recognition.

In the mid-1990's, Victoria signed new contracts to work with various galleries in the United States. She returned to New York with the intentions of painting flowers. "I decided to make flowers my only focus of attention," said Montesinos from her Manhattan studio. "I really wanted to explore and go inside their world, find all the textures, layers and passages of just one flower. They are all small universes. I feel captured by their beauty. Flowers are an incredible way for nature to show the infinity of existing colors." Montesinos executed her idea brilliantly through her magnificent brush, great skill, and abundant creative passion.

In 2003, Victoria Montesinos started exhibiting her original oil paintings in the Fingerhut Galleries of California and has released two limited edition prints with Fingerhut Group Publishers.

Abbreviated Biographical timeline:

1944-Born: Mexico City.

1947-Sent to live with her Grandmother.

1972 to 1984-exhibits in Mexico, Europe and the United States. Discovered in Mexico by a fine art publisher and invited to move to New York.

1984 to 1990-under contract with her publisher, she is shown in numerous galleries in the United Stated and Japan.

1990 to 2002-her works are exhibited in New York, Kansas, Florida, Las Vegas, Laguna Beach, New Orleans, and Paris, France.

2003-Her paintings are exhibited in the Fingerhut Galleries in California. Fingerhut Group Publishers releases two graphic editions. "At the End of the Blue Garden" and "Waiting for My Butterfly".

2004-Fingerhut Group Publishers released a new graphic release "Subtle and Dangerous" in May and the Fingerhut Gallery of La Jolla held a solo exhibition of new works. Three additional new releases, "After Dawn," Midnight Jazz," and "Lilies Become A Dream" are set for October of 2004. The Fingerhut Gallery of Sausalito is hosting an October 2nd exhibition of new original paintings and prints.


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