In 1954, Colombian painter and printmaker Omar Rayo rejected a scholarship to study in Spain, instead embarking on a journey across South America. He traveled through the Andes and along the Amazon, learning indigenous artistic techniques and finding inspiration in the patterns and colors of vernacular architecture and popular culture. This experience proved influential in Rayo’s use of color and geometric patterns, which suggestively evoke the embroidery and patchwork of indigenous art. In the 1960s, Rayo adopted a geometric language that allowed him to explore the material qualities of paper and color. His intaglios investigate the tensions that emerge between the flatness of two-dimensional surfaces and the sculptural qualities of the heavy paper that he used. In "Disquieting", two squares and two triangles form a kaleidoscopic composition of bright colors. The contrast between raised borders and flat fields of color produce an illusion of spatial depth, emphasizing the tactile quality of the paper’s surface.

This text was created in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and written by Patricia Ortega-Miranda.


  • Title: Inquietando
  • Creator: Omar Rayo
  • Location Created: Colombia
  • Physical Dimensions: 30 in. x 22 1/2 in.
  • Class: 2-dimensional
  • Medium: intaglio on paper (18/20)

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