If you are interested in abstract art and you would like to visit a gallery, don’t waste your time hunting for one in downtown Guadalajara. Instead, head for the woods.
Yes, amazing though it may seem, CIANF, Jalisco’s only Center for the Study and Diffusion of Non-Figurative Art, is located inside a large private home in Pinar de la Venta, transformed about a year ago into a gallery and school for abstract art.
CIANF’s founders are architect José “Pepe” Olivares and his wife Rosalía. The center really took off in May 2017, when it hosted an exhibit of archive paintings loaned by Mexico’s most prestigious institute of abstract art, the Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguérez in Zacatecas.
“We had works by famous artists such as Felguérez himself, the Catalans Josep Guinovart and Jordi Boldó, as well as the creator of Guadalajara’s Los Cubitos sculpture, Fernando González Gortázar,” Olivares told me. “People flocked to see these masterpieces and local TV and newspapers called the exhibit a great success.”
Intrigued, I popped in twice to observe the art lessons Olivares gives to children and adults every week. That’s where I discovered that, like Picasso, this teacher is just as talented in depicting realism as abstraction.
“I often start with drawing or painting recognizable subjects such as flowers or a landscape,” Olivares said. “After my students have mastered these basic techniques, we move on to removing elements until only form and color remain.”