Our next Artist You Need To Know was Uruguay’s selection for the 1995 Venice Biennale, and his paintings are imaginative, incorporating memory, experience and yet still leaving much for the viewer to bring to his captivating works. Ignacio Iturria‘s artwork was described in the following manner by critic Edward M. Gómez : “A single encounter with the work of the Uruguayan artist Ignacio Iturria, who was born in Montevideo in 1949, can instantly — and inescapably — open a door to a new way of looking at and thinking about the perceived world, in which fantasy meets reality, giving the spin of a mundo iturriano to just about anything one might notice, from boats and furniture to animals and high-rise buildings.” (from here)
Ignacio Iturria was initially trained in commercial art and graphic design before deciding to focus fully upon his painting, , Iturria is an extremely prolific artist who “is generous with oil paint, building up lush textures on surfaces ranging from traditional (canvas) to unconventional (corrugated cardboard). His palette is dominated by muddy browns and earth tones that reflect the colors of the Plate River and the southern Atlantic Ocean, which formed the backdrop to his childhood in Montevideo. He merges representation and surrealism in his compositions, concentrating on the domestic details and spaces of his childhood and of urban living. Tiny human figures often populate Iturria’s small, austere spaces, going about their business in seeming isolation, serving as stand-ins for urban dwellers everywhere.” (from here, where you can also see more of his images)
Critic and curator Wayne Baerwaldt (in an engaging essay that can be enjoyed here) offered the following about Iturria’s aesthetic: “Iturria’s world-view presents humanity as a house of many characters. Employing both kitsch impulse and artist’s moral rudder, Iturria’s paintings invariably reveal through their conceptual patterning a human iconography of the Americas.”
Despite spending part of his formative years in Spain (and when seeing many of his images, that sense of painterliness, and how he employs his media, this is unsurprising, as there’s flavours of Velázquez or even Goya, in Iturria’s formal and conceptual approach), Iturria returned to his home of Uruguay, and currently lives and works in a suburb of the capital, Montevideo. Among the forefront of painters in South America, Iturria has “developed a strong, personal vocabulary of earthy colors and dreamy-whimsical, memory provoking, history-laden characters who have become the hallmarks of his deeply poetic and humanistic art.” (from here)
His own site offers a great deal of information about the artist, as well as a more comprehensive overview of his practice.
Iturria has exhibited throughout Latin America, in the United States and Canada, and in Europe and Japan. In 1995, he won a major prize at the XLVI Venice Biennial. Iturria’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Sixth Havana Biennial; The Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, Colombia; the Museum of the Americas in san Juan, Puerto Rico; Plug-In (Winnipeg, MB) and the North Dakota Museum of Art. In 1998 a major solo exhibition of his works took place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, which later toured to the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City and Museum of Monterrey in Mexico. More of Ignacio Iturria’s artwork can be seen here.