Press Releases - Marcella Andre
Andre Creacion Gallery Inauguration
By Marcella Andre
Life Force 2007
With Mai Onno Kestenbaum and Kestenbaum Art Studios, Marcella Andre, and Don Felix Luna Romero.
The Onno-Kestenbaum Art Studios are likely the most prolific studios with the longest tenure in San Miguel. The Don Felix Luna Romero family has been creating sacred art and ceremony for centuries in San Miguel. Marcella Andre creates art jewels and special events designs since 1974.
About the Artists:
Master Painter Mai Onno Kestenbaum
Paintings gifted with a living soul, the result of an exquisite maturing of an impressive artistic talent, delivering life and freedom with an illumined beingâ€™s wisdom and gentle love, one of the most prolific studios anywhere.
With clear strength of feeling, and a power of reason with supreme technical mastery, Ms. Onno molds into her images the intangible and fluid force of life: vibrant and affirming, life.
The absolute mastery and ease with which opposites and harmony live together upon Onnoâ€™s energizing work make one wonder how gallery walls do not burst apart from straining to hold the force and vibrant colors sizzling from the canvas.
Blissful oils in blue, red drops of life pace the sun walking through valleys, landscapes to the horizon: hawkâ€™s flight views and the power energy of the Mexican earth nonstop to the eye and heart, as gifts to the viewerâ€™s soul, plays of light renewing our own very life and mind.
While viewing, one rides upon the magic carpet of an artistically illumined brush with the power to transform the viewerâ€™s outlook on life during the ride.
Free from the structured intention of one point of view, Ms. Onnoâ€™s brushstrokes accurately take our consciousness to illumined knowledge. Each painting is a tantalizing door opening to an oasis one seems to have known before: life force, coming home.
Marcella Andre (Lopez de la Cerda) combines East and West design arts with centuries of family tradition and sacred art decoration in San Miguel de Allende, creating jewel designs to fascinate the eye, heal and inspire the spirit, and showcase the extraordinary talents of the Galleryâ€™s atelier. Each jewel design is different as is not duplicated.
Ms. Andre was raised in San Miguelâ€™s first international families, with childhood time in flower-filled San Miguel de Allende, and Malibu, California. After discovering other parts and cultures of the world, Ms. Andre is an expert on the environmental history and restoration of the region and has studied and taught sustainability and Yoga in San Miguel and around the world. A twelve-year stint in New York City replete with renaissance studies, immersion in Indiaâ€™s Brahmanic culture, and original art for trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Standard & Poorâ€™s Corporation opened the doors from 1989 to 2002 as senior regalia master for sacred events and ceremonies in a major international Yoga school sponsored originally by artist Peter Max, designing commemorative silver and jewels regalia and ceremonial vestments and installations for international events and blessing ceremonies. A grateful recipient of numerous scholarships and Yoga titles synthesized to serve diverse communities, imparting classes on XESQ radio for years to reach the local communities, and now is the Conch Keeper for the most ancient native Chichimeca lineage in San Miguel de Allende.
Andre Creacion Gallery is pleased to serve as the exhibition venue for the Kestenbaum Art Studios and the Luna family. The Gallery is housed in ancestral property of the Lopez de la Cerda family inherited from Ms. Andreâ€™s grandfather, Don Ezequiel Lopez (de la Cerda) Escobedo, grandson of Battle of Puebla (5 de Mayo) Field Marshall, General Mariano Escobedo. Next September the Gallery will expand to include #5 next door and the charming salons upstairs, finishing the restoration of this heirloom, one of the oldest buildings in the historic district in San Miguel de Allende.
Don Felix Luna Romero
Don Felix Luna is interviewed often by international journalists, dignitaries, PhD candidates and anthropologists, as well as historians and government representatives, as he is the keeper of San Miguelâ€™s big traditional city-wide sacred celebrations, and is the main cultural authority and spokesman on San Miguelâ€™s old ceremonial proceedings and processions and the reasons for observing those celebrations.
Don Felix Luna heads the group of original descendants of the founding Chichimeca royalty in San Miguel de Allende who have documents of titles and protection and relics sent to these families in the 16th century by the king of Spain.
Artwork by Don Felix Luna is normally only found in museum exhibitions, national art showcases, tours, art competitions and private collections known for their authenticity and quality preservation of the rich heritage and traditions that to this day take place as the regal St. Michael processions at the end of September, Easter proceedings and Dia de los Muertos altars in the Museo de Allende.
His baroque work currently on exhibit at Andre Creacion Gallery won first prize in the national contest showcasing popular arts in Mexico and is inspired by the Chapel of Loreto in San Miguel, it is a sampler of the architectural details in this jewel-box shrine for the Divine Mother. Other Luna Family works will be exhibited.
Lothar Kestenbaum: San Miguelâ€™s legendary master sculptor
Mr. Kestenbaum taught at the Instituto Allende and Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, his renowned mastery and gifts as an artist and teacher drew international scholarship recipients and talented students from around the world, auguring for San Miguel the world-fame as a place to study and work as an artist. His titanic talent was framed in complete mastery of techniques, independence and a passion for the work seldom seen in any field.
A phenomenally strong man who transferred life-force to bronze sculptures, monumental mesquite pieces, exquisite marble from the impossibly beautiful Mexican sierras, all in the celebration of lifeâ€™s diverse forms: from the sea in flowing spirals, life-seeking tentacles, always nourished by the ebb and flow of mysterious currents moving in the deep; on earth, life in whispy bronze wings and horses, the undressed chamber orchestra, and moments trapped outside of time in the apparent movement of an Akitaâ€™s hind leg scratching his ear in a tranquil, sun-filled home. The lobes and movement of lifeâ€™s organic folds, a beautiful companion wife and a child in a highback chair.
His work is in fine arts museums in Mexico, the USA, Canada and Europe and in private collections around the world. The famed atrium in the Bellas Artes School (Centro Cultural El Nigromante) has an area dedicated in his memory intended to serve as an outdoor exhibit space for sculpture, originally set aside as a tribute to Lothar Kestenbaumâ€™s invaluable decades of contributions to the Schoolâ€™s standing and prestige worldwide.
A gift to Mexico City from the city of Berlin, Germany, is the 10-foot bronze sculpture â€śLa Familia Felizâ€ť (The Happy Family), created by Mr. Kestenbaum as the recipient of this prestigious commission.
Originally from Germany, San Miguel became his home in the 1950â€™s until his passing in the 1990â€™s. His wife, Mai Onno Kestenbaum, is the keeper of his artistic legacy.
The very talented David Kestenbaum has inherited an extraordinary amount of handsome attributes, diverse gifts and training in his artistic family and studies, and his work is always surprising, deft, making a new look that draws from deep within this nurturing earth in San Miguel de Allende.
Davidâ€™s approach wraps itself around everything: in building: a foundry, wall, garden walk, stone and wood sculptures, a life-size, three-dimensional iron collage of an ox. A tree he transforms into a reclining Buddha-man, our own in San Miguel. His ability to find different perspectives in space is notable and his work encourages one to rediscover own movement in the space that exists in our lives.
With his red hair and talent, his passion for the work, someone said that David Kestenbaum is San Miguelâ€™s answer to Van Gogh. The work in his studio and foundry outside of San Miguel is probably one of the most exciting things currently going on in the San Miguel arts.
About Mai Onno Paintings
By Robert Somerlott
Mai Onno's arresting works have been widely admired in such distinguished venues as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City and galleries in the United States and Canada. Starting in 1975, she was featured annually at Bellas Artes in San Miguel (and principal professor of painting at the School).
Born in Estonia in the chaotic era of World War II (Russian invasion, German invasion), she immigrated to Canada as a teenager. A scholarship in art brought her to San Miguel de Allende to study at Instituto Allende where she met and married Lothar Kestenbaum, a German-born professor of sculpture.
She studied and worked in Europe and the United States, where son David Kestenbaum was born in 1965, then returned to San Miguel in 1971. Even before returning to live here, she had claimed a place in the Mexican art world: In 1962 she won first prize at the Fourth National Exhibition of Painting, judged by the renowned muralist, Rufino Tamayo.
A bold colorist, her works explode with a spectrum from bombshells to rainbows. She uses natural forms as take-off points: dancers, hearts, landscapes. But the tides which follow are her own emotions intensely conveyed through form and color.
Andre Creacion Galleryâ€™s website is http://yogaplanetjewels.googlepages.com/gallery
Gallery hours: 11 to 6 PM . Flexible appointments: 044 415 1022108
Kestenbaum Art studios work can be seen online at www.kestenbaumartstudios.com
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Below: Ivy in Marcella Andre regalia: photo Ian Williams
Marcella Andre regalia
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