My work shares an affinity with
the colors and themes of the art of Oaxaca, Mexico—in
fact Oaxacan paintings and folk art first inspired me to
paint—so I dedicated September 2001-September 2002
to an independent study of painting in the city of Oaxaca.
I drew upon the resources of the world-class art library
there to improve my skills in drawing, design and understanding
human anatomy, and took full advantage of Oaxaca’s
myriad gallery & museum exhibits and cultural events
to experiment in forms and materials and to take my skills
to a whole new level.
In that year, I wrote what turned out to be a book-length
email journal home to friends. It was a virtual paean to
the richly textured culture of a community whose rhythms
and values so dramatically contrasted with those of urban
America, and which captured my heart entirely. The one
resounding mystery to me was the workings of love. My
with what I came to call Amor Mexicano, or Sex Mex, resulted
in these paintings, and in the following excerpts from
my Oaxaca Journal.
It seems unfair even to me to post
only the Amor Mexicano story, which got scant space alongside
many more in-depth
entries extolling the honored roll of art and the artist
in Mexican society, the gentility and neighborliness
of the people, the hardships and simplicity of life in
the poorest state in the country, and the varied and
compelling cultural traditions and events. But that is indeed
a whole book.
So I chose to share the small portion of the Oaxaca
Journal closely related to this body of work. I hope it will reflect
some small measure of the affection I
have for the place and its people, even as it details
my utter “Gringa-ness” in
the face of Sex Mex!
—Susan “Montana” Murdoch