Jose Canencia does not often exhibit his work. The McCormick Gallery here in Taos, is one of only two venues, worldwide, where Canencia’s extraordinary works on canvas are made available for public viewing and acquisition.
“I felt a pull to Art at an early age,” says Canencia, who began his study of Art at the San Carlos School of Fine Arts, in Mexico City. “I traveled to Europe in my teens to study the classics, beginning in Spain with Velasquez, and the work of El Greco. I sat for hours in the Prado Museum making copies of the works of these great masters.”
During his time in Madrid, Canencia also studied with the portraitist Julio Moises.
He then traveled to England where he spent time at the National Gallery in London, focusing especially on the self portraits by Rembrandt which informed his own work, especially in terms of the play of light on the human face in painting. Next he went to Paris where at the Louvre, he immersed himself in the works of the Modernists, which he describes as having informed his sense of free self-expression through the brush.
Upon his return to Mexico, he began painting the people of the country he calls home.
“What motivates the imagination, moving us to expression, can be found in the mundane- in the encounter with the everyday, in what is seen”, says Canencia; “In Mexico my eyes are constantly delighted with the variety of color of clothing of the “Raramuris”, and especially of the Tarahumara women.”
“By depicting those whom I see I find an unparalleled format for the exploration of color and form”.
For more information on this incredible modern master, please visit the Michael McCormick Gallery Website linked below this post. And if you are in town, make a point of going into the Gallery and ask to see Canencia’s sketches – kept in a drawer in archival wrapping, they are true gems in their own right.