The Amazing World of Washington Ledesma is filled with the joy of life and creation.
One of the most significant Latin American artists living in the United States today, Ledesma's visionary work continues the legacy of Joaquin Torres Garcia and the Mexican muralists.
His path began as a child who happily fashioned animal forms from barnyard mud in his native Uruguay. An athletic youth, he trained to teach physical education before attending Montevideo's Bauhaus inspired School of Fine Arts. There he studied architecture and became interested in painting,jewelry making, metal sculpting and printmaking. He also joined and worked with the Engraver's Club, a talented group of politically aware, socially conscious printmakers with whom he exhibited work throughout Latin America and Europe. The troubled political situation in Uruguay forced him to leave his country on short notice and Washington arrived in New York City in the early Seventies.
In 1973 he arrived in New York City. At first he eked out a living painting reproductions in an "old masters" factory in Lower Manhatten. But he soon gravitated to the craft of clay and began developing the hand carving and painting techniques which give his work its distinctive character. His pots began to sell. Poets in four different languages invited him to illustrate their poems. He also began integrating his studies of early cultures from Mesopotamia and Africa to the Celts and the Incas into his own symbolic world view. Of special interest is the Mayan civilization whose painters were also shamans, healers, politicians and poets. Through the years he has evolved a universal visual language which results in spontaneous laughter and smiles when people view his genuinely innovative sense of humor and play.
Washington Ledesma's originality is evident in his oil paintings as well, a metier he resumed after moving to Martha's Vineyard in the late 1980's. Inspired by the marine light to paint on canvas, his delightful pictures are also sly commentary on the history of art.
When Ledesma's lively creatures demanded to appear on their own forms, the artist's magical hands complied by sculpting birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles. The three-dimensional work has led to yet another aspect of the mature artist's vision and Ledesma's ever simplified drawn lines show an increasing certainty and mastery of his art.
In whatever form it takes, Washington Ledesma's work evokes a whimsical Eden, a symbolic universe where Giotto's angels fly by masked as birds and fertile, three breasted Goddesses celebrate vitality, truth and freedom. The fixed eyes of his animals stare fearlessly at time from an ancient past transmitting Ledesma's loving gifts to the contemporary world - innocence, abundance, and the wonder of creation.
Washington Ledesma - Martha's Vineyard Artist
Washington Ledesma. All rights reserved.