Lewis Kant on show at Galeria D’Paola

Art enthusiasts at lakeside have until the end of February to catch the work of one of Guadalajara’s most accomplished visual artists and designers.

Some 30 works – paintings and bronze sculptures – by Lewis Kant have been on show since mid November at Galeria D’Paola in Ajijic.  Created between 2002 and 2011, they represent only a fraction of this prolific artist’s body of work – he also creates innovative jewelry, installations and curated an exhibit based around the life of Anne Frank at the Zapopan Art Museum in 2004.

“I see art in everything and all the time,” says Kant, who took home the top prize in a national sculpture competition in his native Argentina at the age of 15.

Born into a Polish-Jewish family with a long history in the  precious stones and metals business,  Kant’s constant desire to innovate and create made him “black sheep” of the family,” he admits.

His paintings fall into the category of “figurative abstract expressionism,” which is different to pure abstraction, he says, because the “spectator can always find something in the work.

“Our internal dynamic – emotions, nostalgia, passions and desire – are essentially abstract, so as an artist you give them form, to enable the spectator to recover, see and feel them.”

His sculptures, he says, must transmit emotions. “It’s not just the making of forms. Most of the time in sculpture all you see is just forms; forms without emotion. I always try to convey emotion.”

From an early age enjoying the simple pleasures of moulding plasticine, Kant’s relationship with his materials has always been paramount. For this reason, he says the line between an artist and an artisan is an “artificial” one.

“Everything begins with an idea. Then the hands must execute the work well. The final result, whether it is considered art or artesania (crafts), is up to the spectator. In this respect the artisan is at a disadvantage to the artist, because his work must always be perfect. No one will buy a defective craft. On the other hand, artists like to justify their technical mistakes, saying they are ‘part of the process.’ For me this is simply an excuse.”

As president of the National Design Chamber, Kant is heavily involved in an “ambitious multi-disciplined project” to rescue ancient Mexican design.

Galeria D’Paola is located at Calle Colon 11, Ajijic. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Telephone: (376) 766-1010. Exhibit ends February 29.