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Alfredo Arreguín: Life Patterns

In these dark days, both literally, the depths of December, and in our political climate, the Alfredo Arreguín exhibition at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art will brighten your day, lift your spirits, and soothe your soul. It may also inspire you to activism as well as introduce you to Mexican mythology and spirituality.

Alfredo Arreguín’s paintings immerse us in a wonderland of jungle and seascape, populated by animals, fish, insects and birds. But the jungle and its creatures are more than the sum of their parts: they represent Nagual, guardian creatures of the spirit world who can transform themselves and lead us to alternative views of the world.

Zapata’s Messenger (detail), 1997; oil on canvas, 60 x 48”. Collection of the Artist, photo courtesy Robert Vinnedge

The artist embedded in this wonderland (sometimes almost invisibly), the faces of well known political activists, writers, poets, friends, and occasionally, the artist himself. The faces deeply disguised within the vast details of the paintings, point to Arreguín’s belief in the harmony of nature, the balance of life, and the crucial place that we have within it, rather than outside it. His work has never been more timely or important, as we all despair with the election of a president in Brazil intent on destroying the entire rainforest there for economic profit. Nothing less than the lungs of the planet are at stake.

So plunge into one of his paintings and look at it for a long time, and still come back for more. Explore the dazzling overall intricacy, the detailed patterns, the accomplished linear relationships, the subtle command of color that changes in each work. Then as you visually wander through the paintings, join the butterflies, the birds and the animals in the depths of the jungle.

Arreguín’s several themes, nature, Madonnas, and portraiture overlap and intersect. In every detail of these intricate works, he contradicts the angry rhetoric of racists creating arbitrary divisions in our beautiful world.