Show Preview | Edward Gonzales

Santa Fe, NM
Acosta Strong Fine Art, July 24-August 14

Edward Gonzales, The Wood Seller’s Children, acrylic, 24 x 36.

Edward Gonzales, The Wood Seller’s Children, acrylic, 24 x 36.

This story was featured in the July 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  July 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Edward Gonzales was 4 years old when his grandmother spent the day babysitting him and his younger brothers, choosing to entertain Gonzales with a package of colored pencils and a Daffy Duck comic book. “That was it for me,” he remembers. “I re-created the entire first page for the next three hours.” From then on, Gonzales never stopped creating.

To honor his long career as an artist, Acosta Strong Fine Art is featuring Gonzales in his second solo show at the Santa Fe gallery on July 24, which coincides with the annual Spanish Market and Contemporary Hispanic Market events. The artist’s reception begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 28, with about 15 paintings on display through August 14.

Gallery co-owner Carlos Acosta was struck by how beloved Gonzales was during his first show and is thrilled to invite him back for the second time. “Collectors are used to seeing him in the Spanish markets since he’s one of the founding members, so we’re excited to have his work in Santa Fe,” Acosta says. “He’s a living legend. It’s wonderful to see the connection between him and the people of New Mexico.”

His connection to humanity through art was born during his time in the military after being drafted during the Vietnam War. “I came back wanting to celebrate life and not destroy it,” Gonzales says of his artistic revelation and current inspirations. “I aimed to pour energy, movement, and color into my paintings.” The cruelty he witnessed during the war shook Gonzales to the core, inspiring him to create humane art upon his return home. He considers his depictions of daily life in New Mexico as his contribution to society since becoming a full-time artist in 1984. “I wanted to create positive images for once,” he says.

When an art student once asked Gonzales how he gets his bold colors, Gonzales replied, “I use bright colors! What I would do is take your titanium white and throw it in the trash.” It’s those pure bursts of color, combined with expressive depictions of real life, that help to communicate joy from the canvas. In fact, he scours photo archives that date back to the 1800s from Hispanic villages to find images of simple chores, familial relationships, and big gatherings—all things he experienced growing up. And, although he has been likened to Norman Rockwell in his earlier works, including educational posters seen in schools across the United States, Gonzales now interprets the photographs in a different way. “I get the ideas and notions of their dress and daily activities from the photographs,” he says. “But those images are really similar to how I grew up, so I use my own family photos, too.”

For him, the goal of art is to create scenes of humanity that everyone can identify with, as he hopes to express the human spirit and celebrate nature through his paintings. “I like the fact that people can connect to what I’m doing,” Gonzales says. —Katie Askew

contact information
505.453.1825
www.johnbstrong.com

This story was featured in the July 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  July 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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