MCASD is deeply saddened by the passing of #ÁlvaroBlancarte, a prolific artist who influenced younger generations of Tijuanese painters.
For more than six decades, Blancarte mined the topography of Baja California and defined the artistic landscape of this region. Inspired by the mythologies of the Kumiai culture, the light that shines on the mountains of Tecate, and the idyllic scenery described in Latin American literature, Blancarte experimented with textures, materials, and colors to depict the splendor of the deserts of Baja California.
Trained in the tradition of the Mexican muralists, Blancarte abandoned the Social Realist concerns of his predecessors and focused on the more physical elements related to easel and mural painting. Developing a unique style of painting, what the artist called “neo fresco,” Blancarte regularly incorporated marble powder and sand in his canvases—an effect that harks back to the legacy of Mexican mural painting but evoked age and deterioration. Blancarte’s influence as an artist is recognized not only through his innovative techniques but also as a mentor, through decades of teaching.
In 2016, Blancarte presented a new body of work in Á𝘭𝘷𝘢𝘳𝘰 𝘉𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦: 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵 alongside four of his earlier pieces from the Museum’s collection. In this series, Blancarte created 30 paintings, each measuring 30 by 30 centimeters (approximately 12 by 12 inches). Though he traditionally worked on large-scale canvases and murals, these small canvases allowed Blancarte to intently reinterpret his own history. The series soon expanded and set him on an iconographic mapping of the present with more than 50 works, a selection of which were represented in the exhibition. These photos are from this exhibition and a studio visit prior.