Enrique Chagoya

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Enrique Chagoya Combines Mexican and Indian Images
to Create Visual Dreams ­ or Nightmares

By Diane Manuel


the soundtrack from Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits plays dreamily in the background as Enrique Chagoya glides around the studio in stealth sneakers.

He stops at every easel to concentrate on his students’ sketches of a male model who is posing, Norse-like, in the center of the paint-splattered room.

Chagoya art “Try to fill the whole piece of paper first, and save the details until the very last,” he says quietly to one sophomore. “While you’re painting, move your eyes back and forth between your paper and the model as fast as you can. That’s a little secret I’ll give to you.”

The soft-spoken artist with the flyaway hair can’t stop smiling as he makes his rounds, and his wire-rim glasses seem to magnify his delight at finding so much talent in one class.

Chagoya’s gentle way with his students ­ encouraging them with whispered “secrets” about how to fill a background or develop a sense of proportion ­ offers no hint of the artist who fills his own canvases with wildly swirling clashes of red and black, south and north, new world and old.

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JAN/FEB 1997

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