Nestor Madalengoitia

Contact Information:

Nestor Madalengoitia
26 Marian Ave.
Poughkeepsie NY 12601


Artist Statement:

When I was 5 years old, my mother found it impossible to stop me from drawing on the walls of our house. I drew things that I knew, and things that I had imagined. My mother did not see things the same way as I did, and chased me through the house to get me to stop. But my mother never discouraged my passion for art.

Painting allows me to interact with the subjects of my community, whether that community is my family, my neighborhood, or the community of the world. My goal as an artist is to give people an avenue in which to view social situations. Perhaps through my paintings of family or social scenes, viewers can reflect on their own reality. I paint an idealized reality, in which I research the idea of tranquility and the idea of happiness. In my artwork, I try to freeze the ongoing events of the subjects, emphasizing certain images. I don’t try to achieve accuracy such as in a photograph, rather to define what is in the reality, and transform it into a new reality that will show a different meaning than the original reality. This is accomplished by intensifying some elements more than others, such as the people, objects, surfaces, color, etc.

Painting allows me to penetrate my subject matter. Through form, color and movement I try to reveal the interior essence of the person and place I am painting. I paint portraits because I am fascinated by the topography and the and context of the human figure. In my portraits, I represent gestures and characteristics of people in two manners. One manner is to concentrate on the features of the person’s face and establish a close-up, in which I describe the topography of the face, similar to a geographic map. The other manner is to compare the person that I paint to his or her environment. In some portraits, I superimpose objects or shadows from the subject’s environment on his/her portrait. I feel strongly that artists should be connected to the community, and to that end, I have done many arts-in-education workshops in local schools and community organizations. I enjoy working on these projects because I have a chance to work with many diverse young people in the community and affect their lives through art.

I have always been interested in interactive works, where the viewer is drawn into the piece, either through actual hands-on manipulation, or through the elements represented in the work. “Rembrandt and Me” is an interactive work where the viewer can sense and observe each individual two-sided “tile”. In this piece, I want the viewer to feel like a scholar dealing with a piece of art. I like the idea of the viewer holding the piece with cotton gloves, like a delicate object, and feeling like a scholar dealing with a piece of art. I also like that the viewer is able to flip each piece and rearrange the position of the tiles to create new works. Depending on the viewer’s choice and position of the individual tiles, this work can represent Rembrandt, the artist’s self portrait, or a combination of the two. In “Rembrandt and Me”, the juxtaposition of the tiles also allows the viewer to compare the features represented in a modern portrait with those of Rembrandt’s. My modern self-portrait has the same proportions and occupies space in the same way that Rembrandt’s portrait does. Other works involve the viewer through use of household scenes, and representation of the artist within the painting - as though the scene was taking place in real time, and the viewer could be the artist.

Introspection, 2002
acrylic on canvas, 36” x 30”

This piece is about how people struggle in doing their own thing in the same place. The young violinist is centered, but at the same time is invaded by the play house of her younger brother. The color purple of the violinist is differentiated to emphasize this idea. Perhaps the blue of the left element is the only color which relates to this, supporting her concentration.

Rembrandt and Me, interactive two sided piece, 2001
acrylic on board, 48” x 48”

Depending on the viewer’s choice and position of the individual tiles, this work can represent Rembrandt, the artist’s self portrait, or a combination of the two. I chose the portrait of Rembrandt because of its seriousness, to have viewers play interactively with this. Each tile is also removable, giving viewers the opportunity to analyze each painted piece in detail, as a scholar might.

Madalengoitia Family, 2000
acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”

In this piece I wanted to show how each member of the family is doing their daily activity, working in the same area. The work is an exploration of light - natural light (from the window) and artificial light (from the computer in the far room). The piece is painted with soft brush strokes, so that the effect of the different lights becomes more important than a surface which could be created with strong strokes.

Brian, 2003
pastel on paper, 24” x 20”

In this series of pastels, I try to evoke the significance of the subject through elements used in the composition., and engage the audience in discovering these elements of the subject’s personality. In this series, for instance, I want the viewer to see the whole portrait, but also to be very aware of the words, numbers or patterns used to create the piece, which relate to the subject. For me, this juxtaposition makes the piece come alive.

Self Portrait with Numbers, 2003
pastel on paper, 24” x 20”

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