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In Conversation with Guillermo Olguin for Que Pasa Oaxaca

Text and images by Anna Bruce

The current exhibition at the Centro Cultural San Pablo, “Fugas Geográficas,” gives an insight into the creative process of Oaxacan artist Guillermo Olguín. This is a selection of his smaller, ‘travel-sized’ oil paintings made during recent expeditions. The show presents the transformation Olguín, and his work, go through whilst travelling. An experience that is “simultaneously, encounter, escape, expedition, discovery, return. No matter how many times you do it… momentous.”

I was drawn to this exhibition for various reasons. As a photojournalist, I also travel extensively with work, feeling the push and pull of new influences and aesthetics. But on a more personal level, Olguín actually developed several of these paintings while based at my family home in Oxford. He showed up with a suitcase full of canvases, brushes, and oil paints, ready to begin his painter’s journey that would also include London, Paris, and Napoli.

Olguín describes his work as a collage, as a consequence of both his inspirations and practical method. His pictures are rich with texture. Typically they are begun with a thick layer of oils, defining the base colour of an image. These canvases then gather the marks and happy mishaps of carrying them with him, throughout Mexico and to far-flung countries.

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