Mauricio Toussaint


As a Mexican, I cannot be free of the culture that I was exposed to throughout my childhood. I think that when I start a painting, it unconsciously arise that side of Mexico in me. I think of myself as an artist, any additional labels I leave for others. My images flow naturally and the results become familiar after long periods of contemplation. I find moments of my life that can be from childhood to recent events, but they are always filtered by a part of me that work on its own. Memories surface constantly and make the work very emotional on a personal basis. I give the viewer part of myself in each work; my life can be deciphered through my art.

"Toussaint creates poignant drawings and paintings that make metaphoric references to emotional states of being. He is associated with the artists loosely banded under the term neomexicanismo because of his similar focus on personal identity in the context of pervasive and restrictive Mexican cultural and social conventions. Toussaint images support a story or message that he shares with the viewer like a good friend with whom he holds in confidence.

Mauricio Toussaint, a self-proclaimed exile from Mexico, has produced a body of work that is both reflective and documentary of this stage of his life. Removing himself from Mexico has given clarity and distance in the work, particularly in the drawings, to examine experiences in his life without intrusive cultural intervention.

Toussaint lovingly takes seemingly simple cultural icons, such as the lotus root, eyes, and the skull associated with the "Day of the Dead" ceremonies and uses them to elucidate various past life experiences. 

Writings and language add an additional level of meaning, bringing in references to creation (in general) and the creation myth. The drawings are subtle, executed with humble materials on Amate (hand made indigenous Mexican paper made from bark), building layers of soft color, this process itself being a metaphor for the transition of the thought to the material world. Even the framing reflects this subtle shift as each level becomes denser as it appears.

The pieces are highly personal and self-revelatory, the narrative speaks to all. Toussaint's scrutiny of childhood and adolescent experiences reveal a richness of material, retaining a delicacy of treatment, without saccharine indulgence.  With titles such as "A la cuenta de los a–os en la vuelta de los dias" (The count of the years in the return of the days), one can see the life cycle returning in on themselves and transcending the original experience that triggered the work. The soft, muted neutral colors (except for the startling silver leaf on "Los primeros dias de mi creacion"), invite the viewer to enter to a tranquil, inner space in which to examine one's own life cycles.

It was a tranquil and pleasant interlude, yet hints at mysteries yet unsolved or not revealed." 


-- Nadia Hlibka