Rose Burlingham Contemporary Watercolor is pleased to present the first exhibition of Manuel Pardo’s watercolors. Pardo invents a new style and new techniques with each body of work. He learned the traditions of watercolor painting in high school and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. He later wiped the slate clean and began to simply draw and color in. The directness of the hand, in the act of drawing- is the basis of all his work; Single color, Technicolor, Metaplasmic paintings or Stardust drawings. Watercolor is a primary and as the artist says “substantial” medium for Pardo, one he executes in the same way as any other. A fetish for materials is only the starting point. Recent watercolors contain intense powdered pigments, of forgotten substances as cuchinilla, alizarin sapphire, azo napthol red, Erie pink, eosine, from a cache found at the flea market. The rare golden toned colors recall those used in the 1930’s by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Thomas Hart Benton. With the application of the pigments to heavy deckled edged paper custom made in Mexico City – he performs a kind of alchemy.
Pardo uses a system of repetition, rendering his signature images over and over; each blonde, each urn, each shoe or handbag becomes a transcendent portrait. The results are always surprising, always new. As ever, impossible to classify.