“The interior spaces that I experience in meditation are converted into the landscapes of my paintings; the restlessness of my mind transformed into landfills. When I paint, I experience meditative states; through meditation, I achieve a union with nature, and nature, in turn, leads me to meditation.”
– Tomás Sánchez
If one word can best describe the world we’re living in now, surrealism has no equal. Seeing the empty roads and highways of the Dallas /Fort Worth-area that I’ve known my entire life is one of the most uncanny experiences I’ve ever had. I’m still trying to comprehend this slow-motion cataclysm and all of the chaos around it.
Tomás Sánchez seems to understand the concept of a surrealistic existence. His paintings truly exhibit that sense of isolation; something we introverts love, but that even we realize is not always perfect. Yet, in those moments of solitude, titanic waterfalls and endless canopies of treetops often embrace (almost swallow) a tiny nondescript figure with its natural beauty. The latter aspect is reminiscent of dramatic sunsets and massive ocean waves I’ve encountered; elements of the world that should render the most egocentric among us as humble.
“Aislarse (Isolate)”, 2001
“Orilla y cielo gris (Shore and gray sky)”, 1995
“Autorretrato en tarde Rosa (Self-portrait in pink afternoon)”, 1994
“Llegada del caminante a la laguna (Arrival of the walker to the lagoon)”
“Meditación y sonido de aguas (Meditation and sound of waters)”, 1993
“We add our voice … to those who struggle for the recognition and protection for their rights and cultures, because to the extent that we respect our differences, we shall build a life with more justice.”
As this Easter weekend comes to an end, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite paintings of Jesus, the Christ: Salvador Dalí’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross.” Produced in 1951, it is a perfect example of surrealism. But, it also presents Jesus at perhaps his most vulnerable. The viewer sees him from God’s vantage point; making the Savior look as humble and helpless as the average person.
Dalí based his delineation on a drawing by a 16th century Spanish friar, John of the Cross. As befitting his eccentric personality, Dalí had a perfect explanation for his inspiration. “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream,’ in which I saw this image in color and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense. I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!”
To create the unique angle and obtain a true sense of how the human male form would look, Dalí enlisted Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders to be suspended from an overhead galley. The painting first appeared in public at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland on June 23, 1952 – and became an instant source of controversy. Many considered it blasphemous, even though a traditional crucifix can be turned over and produce the same view. Others saw it as just plain tacky.
Dalí, who died in 1989, had a simple understanding of his own art. “Surrealism is destructive. But, it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”
The crucifixion sketch by St. John of the Cross – the inspiration for Dalí’s drawing.