Mexican-American contemporary visual artist and celebrated architect Javier Arizmendi-Kalb creates bold oil paintings on a grand scale that are comprised of both abstract and representational elements, and consider the natural world as it intersects with utilitarian design.
Javier Arizmendi-Kalb grew up Mexico City, where he learned to paint at young age from a group of landscape painters which included his grandfather, Marcos Kalb. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1986 with a degree in engineering and art history, receiving the Ames Fine Arts Award. In 1991 he completed an MA in Architecture with distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since 1994 he has lived in the Bay Area, working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, where he is presently a Design Director. Artist Statement My recent paintings are characterized by greater scale and abstraction, allowing me to communicate a stronger emotional content through the use of color and gesture. The work reflects my interest in ideas of space and landscape and utilize visual mechanisms evocative of perspective, mapping and cartography to structure visual information on the canvas. The paintings are layered with resin rich paint, which at times support the structural map or space, and at times deny it to emphasize the process of painting as an act of discovery where intuition and chance happenings play a critical role in developing images of emotional resonance. A first series of the work is inspired by sketches done from the air, depicting the San Fernando and Central Valleys, and the Sacramento Delta. The tension between their geometric compositions and the emotional energy carried by the brushwork and color evokes the tension between the man-made and the natural, as well as the landscape’s constant state of change. Examples of this series are Landscape 2 (2016, oil on canvas, 36” x 72”), Landscape 3 (2016, oil on canvas, 36” x 72”) and Delta (2018, oil on canvas, 48”” x 120”). A second series of my work explores the pictorial structure of space, and the relationship between color and the representation of light. These paintings are in part inspired by sacred spaces like chapels where strong illumination enters interiors through small and controlled apertures, endowing light with symbolic meaning. Examples of this series are Chapel 1 ( 2017, oil on canvas, 48” x 72”), Chapel 2 (2018, oil on canvas, 72” x 72), ”and Diffraction (2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 72”).