Javier Arizmendi-Kalb’s Oakland Studio

In recent years Javier Arizmendi-Kalb has competed a group of paintings characterized by greater scale and abstraction allowing him to communicate a stronger emotional content through the use of color gesture, and a greater breath of visual syntax.

Javier’s large format work is generally grouped into three series.  The first series is represented by paintings entitled San Fernando, Landscapes, and Delta. These are works inspired by sketches done from the air depicting the San Fernando and Central valleys and the Sacramento Delta.  The tension between the geometric compositions and the emotional energy carried by the brushwork and color of the pieces are evocative of the tension between the man made and the natural, and the constant changing nature of the landscape.

A second series is characterized by paintings such as Chapel. These paintings explore the pictorial structure of space, and the relationship between color and the representation of light.  They are in part inspired by sacred spaces, including chapels in Mexico and mosques in the Middle East, where strong light enters interior spaces though small and controlled apertures endowing light with symbolic meaning.

More recently, Javier’s work has evolved into a third grouping of paintings. Partially resulting from the confinement following the COVID epidemic, his painting has veered from external visual references, such as landscape and architecture, to internal sources of inspiration and reference including dreams, memories, and literature.  This latest body of work is characterized by greater gestural freedom, bold color and contrast, and the incorporation of overlapping visual elements of varying scales and syntax. Javier draws from figurative, symbolic, and abstract sources as necessary to present a series of tableaus recording the personal and collective thoughts, anxieties, and preoccupations triggered by the various events of this past tumultuous year. Paintings in this grouping include Loteria, Tu Que Eres Poeta, and Hamsa.

Biographical Note

Javier Arizmendi-Kalb grew up Mexico City, where he learned to paint at young age from a group of landscape painters which included his grandfather, Marcos Kalb. He graduated from  Dartmouth College in 1986 with a degree in engineering and art history, receiving the Ames Fine Arts Award. In 1991 he completed an MA in Architecture with distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since 1994 he has lived in the Bay Area, working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, where he is presently a Design Director. Javier works out of his studio in Oakland and is currently represented by Andrea Norris Gallery in Burlingame, California.