Two refreshingly different solo shows are running until late February at the Ex-convento del Carmen art gallery in the heart of Guadalajara’s centro historico.
Their juxtaposition in adjacent wings of this scrupulously preserved pile of centuries-old stone and adobe offers a startling study in contrasting aesthetics – vastly differing artistic approaches which, rather than clashing, serve to throw into sharp relief their respective expressive proclivities.
The most obvious difference between the two shows is one of color: Roberto Pulido’s show “Cosmos” is a violent barrage of neon pinks and blues and oranges and violets, slashing the eye with jagged edges and sharp delineations. Sinuhé Villegas’ “Diarios de un Pintor,” meanwhile, is more muted, with a few brighter shades judiciously placed here and there to relieve the relentless gloom of the prevailing color scheme. His work betrays a much darker, pessimistic sensibility than the one expressed in Pulido’s manic, candy-colored universe.
If you were of the mind to view both shows in the course of a single visit, conventional logic would dictate you start from hushed strings (“Diarios”) and finish with ear-splitting brass (“Cosmos”). However, having come to the Ex-convento ostensibly to see the riotous “Cosmos” while being completely uninformed of Villegas’ concurrent installation, I saw the two shows in reverse. If my visit to the gallery were a meal, the first course would have consisted of a maple bacon-wrapped hot dog covered in gorgonzola cheese, white truffles, and crushed candy canes, followed by a lightly dressed watercress salad for course two. The sequence worked, though, because even devotees of Hello Kitty will want to give their eyeballs a scrub with a brillo pad after a viewing of Pulido’s assaultive, if arresting, images; “Diario,” then, was the perfect visual palliative to Pulido’s dazzling but over-stimulated work.