Not only is Bellorín
an exceptionally talented artist, but he is also an educated creator
who has followed with unique ability the historical development
of painting. He is aware of the many evolutions that artistic styles
have undergone. The artist's anthological exhibit at the "Centro
de Arte de Maracaibo Lía Bermúdez", takes the
viewer on an extensive journey, affirming the particularities, enrichments,
modifications, subtle changes and breadth of knowledge of one of
today's finest Venezuelan artists. The viewer is assured, for example,
that during more than three feverish decades of creation, Bellorín
remains loyal to his role as a classical painter, conserving the
principles that govern the lines that enclose forms, although sometimes
his modeling is so soft that he manages to surpass a plastic effect.
Chief among his virtues is that of being a master sketcher. His
inclination is to visualize through silhouettes. Generally tactile,
he rarely leaves his orientation to chance, yet he is always flexible,
free and flowing. This does not prevent him from surprising us with
drawings without lines, where the lines have been replaced by juxtaposed
If Bellorín's work has one particular hallmark,
it is color. Already in his work of the 1970s and 1980s, we can
see his determination to give color center stage. This is a tendency
that will lead him, at the time of his artistic maturity, to liberate
tonalities in unusual rhythmic games that, aside from providing
a greater luminous intensity, give the ensemble total chromatic
splendor in which numerous short brush strokes evoke the strength
and dynamism of great contemporary music.
Similar observations with
regard to the artist's spiritual-technical development and his debt
to classicism can be made with regard to the unity of his work.
Bellorín achieves this unity by making all parts of the painting
act independently of one other, similar to standalone organs. This
is his principal methodology and in many cases we can appreciate
how it reinforces the color or tones "visible to the spectator",
as Wolfflin suggested, through the use of complementary shadowing.
Just how exactly the Classical style inherited from the Baroque
arsenal such a noble resource, is a phenomenon that this young master,
who advanced side by side with many masters of the century, manifests
in this exhibit. In this exhibit we can also see how Bellorín
developed his analytical strength to the extent that he appropriated
the legitimate procedures that would allow him to evolve and derive
from the tectonic to the non-tectonic, from a linear style to a
pictorial one, with ample use of the technique of synthesis provided
by the various artistic movements that have influenced the visual
José Francisco Bellorín
finished his academic studies at the Cristóbal Rojas School
in Caracas at the end of the 1950s, the years of greatest conceptual
upheaval to date in the history of Venezuelan painting. It was during
the 1950s that the generations of the Taller Libre del Arte and
the Dissidents moved the Venezuelan intellectual world with their
avant-garde art. It was a decade during which many collections of
abstract art were exhibited for the first time. Those were years
of constructivism and the first exhibits by Jesús Soto and
the Coloritmos of Alejandro Otero. Those days brought a renewal
of the ideals of traditional Venezuelan art. They were also the
times in which Armando Reverón died and thus his legacy was
reevaluated at a national level.
These events had a profound
impact on the sensibility of the young students of the group directed
by Francisco Narváez. When the 1960s began, the newly minted
graduate, Bellorín, visited the museums of Paris and settled
down in Rome where he began to paint with intensity. Yet suddenly,
he gathered his belongings as quickly as he had set them down, and
he escaped to Belgium to study graphic arts techniques in depth.
Then, he swung like a pendulum toward North Africa. In Morocco,
he was moved by the craftsmanship. It was a time of reflection.
Art had awakened from the abstract-concrete dream. A "Second
World War" of art was instigated. The artists persecuted by
the Nazis took refuge in France and brought about great changes.
The creators of the 1940s returned to new forms. First there was
lyrical abstraction immediately followed by raw art. For Hartung,
the world was a line. For Debuffet, it was drunken stupor, chance
and dementia. Action painting blanketed the world. Automatic gestures
reigned, and then Op Art snuck in bringing with it came the movement
arts, competing directly with the informal arts. Abstract painting
had become integrated with emotions and human nature. This was the
moment chosen by the man from Caripito to take the stage in Paris.
Everything was topsy-turvy. It was time for pensive repose.
The museums and galleries
were full of masterpieces: antiques, modern art, and today's art.
Calmly, the Venezuelan worked. Picasso loomed in the background
- his Blue Period, the revision of Cubism. Others had discovered
in Cubism a decorative possibility. Something constantly attracted
Bellorín to metaphysical painting. In Rome, he felt his proximity
to Carrá and Chirico. All of these events preceded surrealism.
While exploring, Bellorín discovered that he preferred symbolic
representations. Max Ernst had substantial commentary with regard
to Bellorín's style. Nevertheless, the criollo fought against
the tide. He went to Europe to understand the extent of the impact
of his work. In the ferocious struggle that ensued, he could not
avoid being seriously attacked from all sides. He reencountered
Klee, and Kandinsky, and the stained canvases multiplied. Surrealism
opened the door to new directions. Ultimately, his encounter with
Magritte was an event that had a lasting effect on Bellorín.
In 1965, Bellorín
returned to Venezuela. A professorship in Maracaibo awaited him.
There he found his destiny, his love: a passion to see his ideals
proliferate through his students. At the Julio Arraga school he
discovered Filiberto Cuevas. He lent momentum to the people at "La
Mandragora". He was a teacher for Laura, Luz Marina, Aguirre,
and the puppeteers themselves, including Blás Perozo. A puppet
is thus designed and thus given life. In Maracaibo, José
Ramón Sánchez and Hernán Alvarado met to organize
their first exhibits. Diego Barboza also joined the group. "El
Negro," as Mary called Bellorín, joined the University
of Zulia and founded the graphic arts studios. A Teacher and a leader
wherever he went, Bellorín motivated with his brilliant posters,
his book and magazine designs, as well as any activity he undertook
and filled with light. He produced set designs, theatre costumes
and dance. The city reveled in the Bellorín style. In the
meantime, with Mary, he started an artistic and professional family.
His love for travel grew and he traveled with his family to Europe
and Mexico. Along with Lía Bermúdez, he co-chaired
the Graphics Communications Department of the School of Journalism
and today he can be seen organizing the Experimental School of Art
The most significant thing
we can recognize in Bellorín is that he embodies the prototype
of the Latin American artist: firmly rooted in this continent and
his homeland, yet naturally universal. A master of colossal intelligence,
rigorously trained in the European culture, Bellorín assimilates
it without any inferiority complex. As Alfonso Reyes states, "We
emulate Europe starting in the first grade." We certainly surpass
them, since we are forewarned that although we are currently overseeing
a synthesis, we remain aware of our destiny: to produce a utopia.
The success of our novels is a good example of this destiny, and
painters such as Bellorín are another potent example.