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 Ricardo Carbajal-Moss  (20/21st century)

About: Ricardo Carbajal-Moss


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Lived/Active: California / Mexico      Known for: surreal, minimal abstract painting

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An example of work by Ricardo Carbajal-Moss
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Artist Statement, July 5 2009

Non-Geopoliticaleconomicchronosocial Art or Conceptual Minimal Realism.

This art  exists in a non-identifiable place.  It answers to itself and not to a political idea. It is worth an indeterminable amount of money.  It is timelessness.  It doe not belongs to any class. It is free by not being connected.  

Since the beginning of history, art has had a place, a political identity, monetary worth, time identification, and a social classification.  This has anchored art.  It has made art loaded down with too many names.  It has rendered art in service of its patron.  It has placed art in time period limiting it to this or that time in history.  What a shame to do this to art.

If we are to truly see art and understand it, we must free it from all that holds it down.  We must give art what the artist wants for himself.  Artists want to feel the art and have it give back a sense of freedom from all that is holding him down.  Art that is free from all labels is true art.  Art that speaks about beauty without being regional is true art.  Art that is about real things is an art that can tell us truths about the real world.

When we go to a museum, we are bombarded with labels, with names, with schools that place art in this or that pigeonhole.  As we walk the halls of the great world museums, we are reminded that art exists in a regimented, narrow, limiting, and stifling intellectualization. Art is better seen emotionally. We rent audio sets from which much left-brain verbiage pours into our receiving mind clouding the reality of the art we are aloud to see. In these collections, we are reminded who owns the art and has generously lent the art to the museum or donated it giving the lender/donor a very big tax write off.  As we walk the miles of corridors in these old-fashioned warehouses, we are tired by the pedantic creation of different schools of art. These schools of art, in reality, have little or no connection to the art thus classified.  The so-called Connoisseur’s grouping of art in this or that school only serves to aggrandize the maker of the school of art.  By doing so, this false ordering lessens the importance of the art. If the artists who did understand the feeling of what he or she was trying to create came back from the dead and saw his or her work treated this way, I am sure that the artist would reject all classifications the art was labeled with.  On seeing his art placed in the expressionist wing of an art museum, Vincent would completely cut of his ear.  He might even shoot the curator instead of shooting himself.

I can only hope that if my art is placed in one of these dreadful places after I am dead that my art will find its way into a neutral place.  In this neutral place, all labels would be banned. This room would be a place where the art speaks for itself. Imagine a wing of an art museum where all artificial left-brain verbiage is absent.  Imagine a place where art critic’s thoughts are kept out.

When you see my art, you see it is free.  It is free from place, time, society, money, and politics.  Most importantly, it is free from me.  I do not place my name on this new art where the viewer can easily see it.  Yes, the stands for my new art works is marked, as are the panels.  However, I have taken care not to have my name appear prominently.  My art is free because the images I paint are not anchored.  The images I paint are not of this or that place.  The images I paint are not from a particular social class.  The images I paint are not from a time we can recognize.  The images I paint are free because I have not places then anywhere.

Why and how I came to this form of art is a long and serpentine story.  What I do think is important to tell you is that this free feeling is just that.  It is a feeling that is necessary.  It is necessary to be in me for this art to be created.  To feel free while creating this art permits the art to be itself.  An intellectualization of the steps taken to arrive at this period of development in my art would be more left-brain hot air.  To be free of all ties is not easy.  It is a dream.  It is a state of mind.  It is like holding a balloon for a time and fearing it might burst, letting go so the balloon is free to go with the wind.  This free feeling is like trying to hold on to a thought while somebody is talking and waiting for a pause in order to say what we want to say but realizing that what we wanted to say is just not that important.  This feeling free is like wanting something badly and doing all we need to do to get this thing only to realize that we could live without it.  This feeling free is like having too many commitments that must be met and then just not meeting them and realizing that we did not really need to think that we had to fill these commitments.

When a painting of mine sells the new owner is then able to re frame it, hang it, warehouse it, resell it, or whatever.  My new art is free by letting the new owner rearrange the order of the panels on which I paint my images.  I no longer dictate the final composition. This way I free the art from me.

So you see, I give my new art all of this freedom and that way give myself the feeling of something that is not attached to me.  I free myself from my self.  My self is able to be free because I extricate myself from the viewing arrangements made on my art.  My art is free because I am free. 

Biography from a third party submitted on 01/12/2010:
Ricardo Carbajal-Moss grew up in Mexico of mixed Mexican and Anglo parentage.  Always artistically precocious, he drew incessantly as a young man and then studied at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, the Instituto Allende in the art colony of San Miguel Allende, and the Peninsula School of the Arts in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, founded in 1965 by Madeline Tourtelot.  After emigrating to the United States and settling in Los Angeles he completed his studies at the Otis Art Institute.

Carbajal-Moss was heavily influenced by the Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte (1898 - 1967) and the early works of Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989).  The influence of these two artists is significant because both of them combined surrealistic imagery with consummate craftsmanship.  In the 1960s, Magritte was just being rediscovered and his placement of ordinary objects in an unusual context must have resonated with the young Mexican painter.  Dali, of course, was an artistic original who often combined academically classical objects and avant-garde elements in his complex compositions.  So, early in Carbajal-Moss' career he began to contrast realistically painter objects against airy and cloudy but colorful backdrops.

Carbajal-Moss was an active exhibitor from the beginning of his career, showing at Galeria Lepe in the resort town of Puerta Vallarta in 1968, the Salon de la Plastica Mexica in Mexico City in 1969 and then with the respected dealer Joan Ankrum in Los Angeles in 1973, after his emigration to the States.  He enjoyed a long relationship with the dealer Howard Morseburg, who had always maintained an interest in Mexican art, even if his gallery's orientation was overwhelmingly traditional.

Carbajal-Moss moved to the San Diego area in the 1980s, began teaching at the International College of Art and exhibited with a number of galleries in the resort areas surrounding San Diego.  In the balmy climes of California's southern coast his work became increasingly realistic, combining more conventional still life components with surreal elements.

When one looks or listens to Ricardo Carbajal-Moss, he still looks and sounds very much like the young painter who began exhibiting his work forty years ago in that pivotal year of 1968.  He is still passionate about his art and retains the same articulate playfulness that has always been part of his speech and character. However, as Carbajal-Moss' life has changed and his ideas have evolved, his work has changed as well, remaining "surrealistic" but becoming much more grounded in reality than his early paintings.  At the time of this writing (2008), Carbajal-Moss is as active as ever - teaching, painting and exhibiting in the United States and Europe.

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