[1] [2]

[3] [4]

(1) "Interior", o/c, 37 x 37", 1982.
(2) "La del Toro", oil on linen, 59 x 79 3/4", 1994.
(3) "Paisaje Tropical", o/c, 59 x 79 3/4", 1993.
(4) "El Comedor", o/c, 47 1/4 x 59", 1991.

by Judith Christensen

(ChacMool Gallery, West Hollywood) Carlos Fuentes calls Latin American culture "an eccentric branch of the culture of the West. It is Western and it is not Western" Citing its dual nature, he says, "We have to know Quetzalcoatl and Descartes. They think Descartes is enough." This mingling of European heritage with regional and national traditions is central to the work of Vladimir Cora.

Cora was born, and now lives, in Acaponeta, Nayarit, Mexico. A coastal state, Nayarit is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer. This tropical influence is felt in Cora's palette and his portrayal of luscious pineapples, melons and other fruits. His palette is vivid--yellow, red, purple, and fuschia are abundant; but his liberal use of an almost-violet blue and sparing use of orange provide a cooling effect.

Desayuno Tropical is an interior scene, with a view of the mountains out the window. The distant sky is predominantly yellow, and the palette cools from aqua to violet-blue as the scene moves inside. This suggests the presence of a humid heat outside in contrast to the darkened shelter of the house.

The slated shutter and the female figure, frequent motifs in these paintings, are reminiscent of Rufino Tamayo's La Ventana Indiscreta. In Tamayo's painting we view a nude figure voyeuristically through the slats. In Cora's Interior, in which a woman dresses in front of a mirror, we are inside with the figure. The slats behind the woman separate the viewer and the figure from the outside.

Although the motifs are similar, Cora's rendering of the image is quite different from Tamayo's. It is here that the European influence--cubism in particular--is most evident. The woman's face in El Comedor, parts of the fruit, bottles and glasses, also in El Comedor and in Bodegón No. 1, and fragments of other works recall, at times, parts of specific cubist paintings, and at other times cubist technique.

Cora's use of a fractured perspec-tive, particularly in his figures, extends beyond cubism. Parts of his figures--a nose, a breast, a shoulder--are multiplied and abstracted until their shape resembles that of the fruit, as in Desayuno Tropical. Besides the obvious fertility connection between a woman's body and fruit, there is a more painterly concern. For Cora the subject becomes a topographical examination of painting. In Interior , the woman's body, taken out of context, could be an aerial landscape. In El Comedor ,Cora overlays the slated shutter pattern onto part of the woman's body.

He is not simply rendering a figure. His perspective on his surroundings as well as his interpretation of the history of art are integral. The figure is the ground, which Cora uses to explore the interplay of color, texture and form.