Art critic Roberto Montero Castro analyzes the work of the modernist artist Mercedes Pardo (1921–2005) on the occasion of her exhibition at the Galería Adler/Castillo in Caracas, and later traveling to a venture at Centro Arte El Parque in Valencia, Venezuela.
The author discusses Pardo’s work by introducing the reader to twentieth-century art, which broke with the traditional balance (lines, forms, and colors in painting), and instead enticed artists to pick one of these pictorial elements over the others. Pardo is here considered as an artist whose priority was a “liberation” of color, which for him had been “enslaved” to drawing or form throughout the history of art. Montero Castro is worried by the limited visibility of the artist that mirrors a limitation to the development of art in Venezuela. In fact, this article from 1977 comes two years before Pardo’s first retrospective exhibition, held at the GAN (Galería de Arte Nacional) titled Color: Piel, Presencia Meditada: Mercedes Pardo. She was also the winner of the 1979 National Prize for Plastic Arts, and such accomplishments came after three decades of ceaseless production. Moreover, it must be taken into account her role and contribution, among other artists, to the emergence of abstraction in the early 1950s in Venezuela as an undeniable pioneer of abstract art in her country. Her discourse spanned across different approaches to this medium—both on the lyrical spectrum and with an Informalist touch—as well as experimentation in the more geometric, hard-edge approach; this latter attitude of her work is confirmed by her choice of supports, techniques, and materials. While most of the literature on Pardo is focused on her use of color, Montero Castro underscores light as Pardo’s priority, and how its transitions across the canvas allow her to play with the dynamics unchained by different tones and planes. He also highlights tensions and interplays in her chromatic field, therefore showing the significance of both structure and research in her art production by means of specific examples, namely: Postigos, Sombras Transfiguradas, and Cálido Encuentro.
For another review of this exhibition work shown at Galería Adler/Castillo, see, in the ICAA Digital Archive, Roberto Guevara, “Mercedes Pardo: Construir el Color” (1331532). For more detail on her art displayed in the 1991 retrospective Moradas del Color, see Gloria Carnevali, “El Espacio en la pintura de Mercedes Pardo” (1102285); and María Fernanda Palacios, “Pintura y vida” (1102253).