Jose Maria Cundin is elusive, chimerical; he has exhibited here since the 1960s but is rarely seen. A one time resident of Broadmoor who now lives in Folsom, he spent a number of years in Miami in between. His work is also slippery, and his TWELVE ANTI-PORTRAITS show is aptly titled because the images are totally abstract, depicting no one's actual appearance. But Cundin is a master colorist, and color is a quality of light, and light is what people radiate. While no one's visage is actually visible, Cundin gives us the colors of his subjects' personalities instead, like a collection of so many painterly mood rings. So CHAVEZ, WHY DON'T YOU SHUT UP?, top, is an uneasy agglomeration of red, green and tangerine blobs shifting disconsolately and radiating the kind of unholy crimson glow that we might expect from Venezuela's caffeinated loose cannon president. But in CARLOS GARDEL SINGING "MUNECA BRAVA," left, the articulated blobs seem to almost gyrate in harmony with the music of the legendary Argentine tango singer-songwriter. And RUBEN DARIO OBSERVING HIS OWN BRAIN is complex, as introspection often is, even for the esteemed Nicaraguan founder of Latino literary modernism. Here Cundin gives us a non-objective new form of biographical history painting that relies solely on a visual lexicon of cellular forms and irradiated colors to convey the essential character of his subjects. And once again the canny Basque expatriate escapes any further attempt to define him.
This collection of 12 "Anti-Portraits represents a focused effort in search for my unified manner or formula of work, one that will aloud certain elusive expressive overflows from the formal boundaries of the Abstraction into an unlimited subjective visual realm, where the plastic effects should become both the main desired fact plus the conveyor for nuances, codes,etc.and wherever intended plausible meaning. This, of course, is very much like " Looking for three legs in the cat", some beloved and recurrent Utopia in the Spanish Order of things.
In this arduous tasks I found some encouraging point of departure reading Hans Hofmann's essay: "The Color problem in Pure Painting--It's Creative Origin" in which he explains and propose a protocol of chromatic action and also recommends and Ideal; never where there any scarcity of commendable references to follow or to contrast in my lengthy process of achieving some rewarding result, and yet, today the Journey continues with the same magical astonishment that I perceived with the first brush stroke in my painting "Carta a Ignacio Arana" (New Orleans,1989), composition of 16 vignettes where I explore sequentially the possible transition from the representational styles, which had occupy me for more than thirty years, into the Abstract narrative context of this 2010 Anti-Portraits show.
In denominating this 12 works as Anti-Portraits I am not aiming for moral explicitness in the characters, but rather towards what I wish to accomplish: The persistence of expression before and beyond the "ensemble" of forms, masses, weights, directions, forces and color, a qualifying condition of such a mysterious nature as, for example, Murphy's Law.
To close this justification in time for the Inauguration of the Show, I will add my suspiction that a Lie is a possible reality, but will never be a Truth; and this is our aim.