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Ricardo Fernandez Ortega: Overflight

October 6, 2017

"From the sky, you can see many beautiful things that go unnoticed when looking from the ground," says Mexican artist Ricardo Fernandez Ortega, whose magical realism often depicts female figures surrounded by birds in flight – or even sprouting wings themselves to drift through a calm night sky. Paintings in Fernandez Ortega’s solo exhibition, “Overflight,” encourage this lofty perspective while representing dream-like imaginings and innermost desires.

In “Journey Partner,” a lavishly dressed female figure crouches by a resting horse with her eyes cast downward. Hovering just above her head is a white flag, billowing in the soft breeze against a dark sky. Is it dusk or dawn? A strip of clear blue light illuminates the mountain range behind her as clouds with a purple tinge begin to overtake the darkness. According to the artist, the white flag represents peace; if the girl and horse were to stand up, leaving the ground where their eyes are fixed, it would be within their reach. Upon first glance, the flag could also be interpreted as a bed sheet, symbolizing the dream world in which the subjects exist. Mysterious and enchanting, Fernandez Ortega’s magical realism is open to the viewer’s interpretations. 

Wings, animals and bright or incandescent objects act as symbols in Fernandez Ortega’s work, representing internal qualities such as freedom, goodness and intelligence. Often revolving around a dominant feminine subject, these symbols weave mystifying messages and evoke visceral, subconscious emotions from the viewer. “I would like my paintings to help people understand themselves and each other,” says Ortega. “I’m looking for connections between the subconscious and the realistic events that build our life.” 

Fernandez Ortega’s skillfully realistic painting style and intuitive chiaroscuro technique draw us into his surreal environments with mesmerizing curiosity. Great 17th-century Spanish masters including Diego Velazquez inspire Fernandez Ortega, who currently resides in Durango, Mexico. By combining classical techniques with magical realism, Fernandez Ortega creates a style that is uniquely his own.

“Overflight” opens on Friday, October 20th and will remain on display at the gallery through October 26th

View the exhibition paintings here.


-Kelly Skeen

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