LINDA HODGES GALLERY, SEATTLE WA – April 5 – 28, 2018
By Matthew Kangas
The late-flowering recognition of Mexican-born Seattle painter Alfredo Arreguín is testament to the good news that the longer an artist lives, the higher the chance that recognition will come.
Having fled complex family problems with his elite relatives in Mexico City, Arreguín, as a new immigrant, arrived in Seattle in 1956. He embarked on an artist’s life after completing US Army service in South Korea and Japan, and attending the University of Washington School of Art. Recalling childhood reveries in Mexico, he found his métier in darkened jungles with wild animals and birds, creating a long succession of utterly unique paintings that mix Magic Realism, Surrealism, ecology, ancient Mesoamerican mythology and a reverence for nature that extends across the hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. The new paintings reveal an artist at the height of his powers. Each meticulously achieved canvas is seen through an intricate, lacy veil of linear networks that relate to the central image.
Critics beyond the Pacific Northwest have been quicker to pick up on Arreguín’s many layers of meaning, especially those who saw his survey at the Museo de América in Madrid. They noted how he was known for his paintings of the Virgin of Guadalupe (shown in major museums in Poland and the American embassy in Guatemala City). At 83, Arreguín has become truly global, while always drawing on the childhood jungle experiences of Michoacán to undergird his invocation of another interior world, one that has attracted so many poets, musicians, novelists, scientists and mathematicians to his work.