My recent paintings are characterized by greater scale and abstraction, allowing me to communicate a stronger emotional content through the use of color and gesture.
The first series is inspired by sketches done from the air, depicting the San Fernando and Central Valleys and the Sacramento Delta. The tension between their geometric compositions and the emotional energy carried by the brushwork and color evokes the tension between the man-made and the natural, as well as the landscape’s constant state of change.
A second series explores the pictorial structure of space, and the relationship between color and the representation of light. These paintings are in part inspired by sacred spaces, including chapels in Mexico and mosques in the Middle East, where strong illumination enters interiors through small and controlled apertures, endowing light with symbolic meaning.
A third grouping of paintings includes smaller-scale studies that reflect my interest in formal issues of geometry, composition, color, abstraction, line, mass, volume, and shape. These are also explorations of the nature of the medium and its ability to further communicate through painterly application, playing with contrasts between transparent vs. opaque, washes vs. impastos, reflective surfaces vs. matt surfaces, brush marks versus smooth surfaces. As a whole, this work reflects my love of the painterly and the sensuality of the medium.
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.