"I am from a small village - El Manantial, Coahuila - just outside Torreon, Mexico, and came to the U.S. as a shy seven year old. In the eleven years that I have been painting professionally, I have come to realize that my work is defined both by my familial roots in northern Mexico and by the subtle, mystical environment of my adopted home in West Texas. My creative process is immersed in this dual identity; I paint what I feel, that which is me. You will see on canvas the richness of my grandparents' folk tales alongside the adventures of the 'new life' created by my hardworking immigrant parents. Through symbolism, metaphors, and pictorial language, I tell my story."
- René Alvarado, 2004
"Soy originario de una pequeña aldea -El Manantial, Coahuila- en las afueras de Torreón, México, y vine a EE. UU. como tímido niño de siete años. En los once años que llevo pintando como profesional, he acabado por darme cuenta de que mi trabajo está definido, tanto por mis raíces familiares del norte de México, como por el sutil y místico ambiente de mi hogar adoptivo en el oeste de Texas. Mi proceso creativo está inmerso en esta doble identidad: pinto lo que siento, que es mi propio yo. Usted verá en el lienzo la riqueza de las leyendas populares de mis abuelos, junto con las aventuras de la 'nueva vida', forjada por los esforzados trabajadores, que son mis padres inmigrantes. Por medio de simbolismo, metáforas y lenguaje pictórico, lo que narro es mi propia historia".
- René Alvarado, 2004
Rene Alvarado - emerging artist and son of an immigrant farm worker - admits that inherent in his pictorial work is his Mexican soul.
Fueled by the sentiments of his roots, the values and icons of our Mexican culture are referenced - sometimes subtly, and at times, more obviously expressed in the fervor for the Virgin of Guadalupe and the many expressions of her maternal love. Evident, too, are the traditional myths such as La Llorona and the artist's admiration and respect for the role that women play in the daily life of Mexico. While he expresses these cultural identities, his work cannot be considered simply a form of regional expressionism; rather, thanks to the expressive depth and honest sensitivity, his work approaches a true universal dimension.
The artist's visual depictions of faces and human forms are both literal and spiritual (interpretive). Each conveys not only that which is outwardly visible but reveals a suggestion, often haunting, of the inner life. The mythical personage, whether it be religious or secular, does not matter; what is important is the discernable emotional persona each embodies - a tormented presence or, more often, a disquieting serenity.
Despite their deep local roots, Rulfo's Comala or García Márquez' Macondo acquire a dimension that is undoubtably universal. Interwoven in the wise prose of these famous authors is an authentic taste of cultural values, myths, rites, and customs. Likewise the painter, within a language of forms, colors, atmospheres and artistic expression, transports us from the flavor of locale to a universal perspective. Here, borders do not exist and the human spirit has an indefinable source of wealth through diversity and creativity.
What deeply moves us about René Alvarado's work is not just the obvious richness of color - an artistic resource which he handles impeccably but his extraordinary capacity for visual expression. Such talent reveals the complex emotions of life and turns his pictorial imagery into a truly artistic experience that we approach with surprise and admiration. It is an honor for El Instituto de México to exhibit this young artist in its galleries.
Dr. Enrique Cortazar
Instituto de Mexico en San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
May 28, 2004