"“Art is like a fountain of living water. Its great value consists of permitting our introspection and it saves us from being devoured by the atrocious and absurd system we live in. It's the only possibility of bringing out the beauty and greatness in every human being”."
Fernando García Ponce was born on August 25, 1933 in the city of Mérida, Yucatán. At age 11 his family settled in México City.
In 1952 he joined the National University of México, to study architecture.
His first paintings date from 1954, mostly family portraits, however, two years later, the presence of geometry increases significantly in his works.
In 1957 he travels to Europe and makes the decision to drop architecture to devote himself entirely to painting.
The influence of his architectural studies is visible in his works. He had respect for the geometry and structure.
García Ponce enhanced the qualities of architectural outline and a restricted color palette, creating a poetic space, a feature that distinguished him with a unique personality within the Generación de la Ruptura (Breakaway Generation)
Rojo sobre fondo rojo (1985) is a prototype of the geometrism of Fernando García Ponce.
He had his first solo exhibition at the Galería de Arte Mexicano (Mexican Art Gallery) in 1959; with 26 oil paintings of still life. In 1960 he painted and abstract composition entitled No. 1, groundbreaking piece in his works. With a series of collages becomes entitled to and honorable mention at the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana.
García Ponce greatly admired Van Gogh, perhaps because the Dutch painter used the pictorial space as a scenario in which the heartbeat of light, the intensity of the line and the drama of life unfolds.
The plastic work of García Ponce is part of the geometric abstraction movement, although his work was also influenced by Kurt Schwitters.
García Ponce chooses collage and thick impasto as a medium, and the canvas as a field in which geometric shapes are characterized by a complex and emotional load.
His early works reveal his interest for areas and lines painted with liberty, created automatically, with flat areas surrounded by an illusionist atmosphere.
Composition on a straight line (1985) is a piece that marks the beginning of his work period with collage. collage.
Most of his collages are monumental. For Fernando García Ponce the big dimension of the canvas is an energetic factor itself, as plastic as the structure itself.
Fernando cuts, selects, changes, pastes, sometimes tears off and restarts all over again. For him, the work is the result of a dialogue with the medium in which the artist ignores any external influence. His works offer the viewer an aspect of the private life of the artist, as they are made with materials at hand in the studio. His choices are based on the delight in texture, color and weight.
In 1960 the artistic movement La Ruptura (Breakaway movement) emerged , which defined a generational group of intellectuals and artists, in which García Ponce belonged. They were the seeds for the transformation of art in Mexico.
The proposals of this generation marked total distance from the so called Escuela Mexicana de Pintura (Mexican School of Painting)
García Ponce participated in a group exhibition of Mexican and South American Contemporary Art in the Galería de Arte Mexicano (Mexican Art Gallery) in 1961, where he had his first art exhibition. Two years apart and his paintings are totally abstract. He exhibited 14 works at the Juan Martin Gallery.
In 1964 he won first prize at the Esso Salon organized by the Museum of Modern Art, a momentous event in the history of Mexican art, which led to the opening of new ideas and a more cosmopolitan view of art.
He also participated in the group exhibit of Contemporary Art of America and Spain, held in Madrid. By 1974 his painting reveals the will to synthesize cold geometric arrangement.
During the summer of 1976 García Ponce travels with his wife Denise and his son Esteban to Paris, later they spent some time in Barcelona, where he made two graphics folders containing 10 screenprints and 12 lithographs.
Upon his return to Mexico, the Museum of Modern Art (1978) organizes a major exhibition of 40 works made between 1977 and 1978.
A year after this event, his wife Denise dies tragically, however, García Ponce stay focused and his creativity was still intact, the paintings of those years are extremely powerful and inspirational.
As every year, he presented his annual exhibition at the Ponce Gallery and participated in group exhibitions of the House of the Americas (Cuba), the Museum Picasso (Antibes, France), the Cultural Conferences of Colombia, the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh (EU) and the National Arts Center in Ottawa (Canada), among others.
When Julio Cortázar died in 1984, a group of mexican artists paid posthumous tribute to the Argentinean writer. Oil paintings, acrylics, mixed media and collage can be found among the 22 works that make up the Rayuela Collection (Hopscotch collection). This collection includes works by Fernando García Ponce, Manuel Felguérez, Arnaldo Coen, Roger von Gunten and Alberto, Francisco José and Miguel Castro Leñero, among others.
At 54 years old and still considered one of the most important artists of the national art scene, García Ponce died at his workshop, on July 11, 1987, of a heart attack.
Fernando García Ponce Museum presents 33 of his works (1964-1986), made with acrylic paint, mixed media and linoleum or plywood collage. It also displays a selection of photographic facsimile of the works carried out from 1950 to 1960, and its drawing table and bench, as the painter left the the last day he lived.
In Merida you can also see some of his architectural works: the Delegation of Federal Transit, Coca-Cola factory, Mérida Clinic, among others.
For more information:
Ing. Fernando Ponce García—Presidente Fundación Cultural Macay, A.C.