San Ildefonso

Ecstasy and symmetry

Pedro Diego Alvarado is an artist who embodies what Mexican art ex- presses and what seems like a contradiction : he is both profundly Mexican and international. This is what Octavio Paz referred to when he described Mexican art as containing an international aesthetic vocabulary as well as indigenous inspiration. Alvarado's Mexican legacy is also dual. On the one hand, his work is a part of the canon of Mexican artists who bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. On the other hand, he is an artist with a complex family legacy as the grandson of Diego Rivera and the son of Ruth Rivera, who was a renowned architect.

As a childhood friend, I can speak to Pedro Diego's history in a way that no art critic could as I watched him draw as a child and open, enter and recognize the world he was born into. He was quiet and observant. His childhood drawings led him to study and master drawing and painting as well as finding his own vision.

As so many houses are filled with mirrors, Pedro Diego's chidhood house, the Casa Estudio in the San Angel Inn neighborhood of Mexico City, was instead filled with canvases. At one time he must have realized the pain- tings hanging on the walls, sitting on easels and leaing against every surface were parallel worlds one could look into and find a place of imagination and desire.

Pedro Diego has a unique feel for the mysterious patterns in nature. A crowd of trees, a cascade of vines, the rows of corn in a corncob or a collection of fish hanging in a market create unexpected symmetries. Along with this, his colors at times seem to almost vibrate and this adds a sense of ecstasy to his canvas. That is no doubt that, while Pedro Diego Alvarado honors his many traditions, he also stands alone with a body of work that is masterful.