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 Gonzalo Endara Crow  (1936 - 1996)

About: Gonzalo Endara Crow
 

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Lived/Active: Ecuador      Known for: landscape, still life, sculpture

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Biography from Art Cellar Exchange:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Gonzalo Endara Crow (1936-1996) was born in Bucay, Ecuador. From an early age he was very interested in art and as a young man he studied painting at the Central University in Quito. Early in his career, Endara Crow's work took on a distinct style early that stayed with him throughout his lifetime. Ecuadorian geography and the bright colors used by indigenous artisans in their work were two major influences that penetrated Endara Crow's work for his entire career.

It wasn't until the twentieth century that artists in Latin America began to really develop a distinctly Latin American style of art. During the nineteenth century, most artists in Latin America were highly influenced by Europe's art and culture. As a result, artistic activity in Latin America was often reduced to imitation and repetition of the style of European artists, thus Latin American art did not develop at the same pace as European art.

It was following the Russian and Mexican Revolutions that artists in Central and South America were inspired to create an original Latin American culture and artistic style. This style was sought in the rural zones of Latin America, places inhabited by those ignorant of what occurred in Europe and undisturbed by alien influences. Immediately a new school began to develop - a school whose style broke from aristocratic conventions.

The painting of Gonzalo Endara Crow is just one example of this new style of art that was produced in twentieth century Latin America. Various art historians and critics have referred to his work as magical realism, a term oft used when speaking of twentieth century Latin American literature. Just as in magical realist texts, paintings by Endara Crow seek to expand the categories of what is real so as to encompass myth. Magic and other extraordinary phenomena in nature - all which are excluded by European culture - find their place in Endara Crow's painting.

Magical realism in painting can be distinguished by the way in which reality and fantasy are blended. Any distinction between the two is erased through the combination of fantasy elements and mythology with otherwise unrealistic fiction. As in the magical realist texts of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gonzalo Endara Crow's paintings weave in fantastic elements with deadpan presentation.

Sometimes he combines inharmonious opposites, such as a vase of flowers set among a small village of houses. By exceeding the boundaries of a purely realistic setting and creating a new setting, a union of polar opposites is presented to the viewer. While neither the vase of flowers nor the group of houses below, are fantastical subject matter, the presentation of conflicting perspectives creates an irony that transforms the common and the everyday into the awesome and the unreal.

By joining colors using aesthetic and chromatic combinations artists such as Gonzalo Endara Crow evoke mythology and symbolism - often associating them in strong combinations, which for other cultures may seen audacious and shocking. His work is greatly inspired by Ecuador's indigenous artisans and the brilliant colors represented in their pottery and textiles.

It is no surprise to learn that two of Latin America's most renowned authors - both well known for their magical realist texts - Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Carlos Fuentes are among the collectors of Endara Crow's paintings. Gonzalo Endara Crow's work has continued to command attention in the international art market, even after his death in 1996, and his legacy has inspired an entire generation of artists in Ecuador as well as throughout Latin America.

Gretchen Van Camp
Latin American Art
Art Cellar Exchange

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