“Naïve Art,” states the website of GINA – Gallery of International Naïve Art in Tel Aviv, is that which “is characterised by a refreshing innocence and the charming use of bright colors, child-like perspective and idiosyncratic scale.” It conjures up verdant valleys, happy hamlets, luxuriant vegetation and exotic jungles.
A noted naïve artist represented by Gina Gallery that I discovered recently is Fausto Perez. Born in San Salvador in 1962, Perez studied plastic arts and interior design, after which he worked as a teacher in a rural elementary school. He had his first solo exhibition at the age of 18 at the National Library in San Salvador.
Perez’s paintings glow with bucolic splendour, and show landscapes that remain untainted by the speed, competition and confusion of modern city life.
“Rather than drawing inspiration from the indigenous, Mayan culture, traditions, mythology and mysticism prevalent in Central America,” he writes, “my artworks draw upon my personal experience of daily life of my village and the surrounding hills and dales. I enjoy using bright colors and great detail to portray life’s rhythms and harmonies, transporting us from the tensions and chaos of the world today to happier moments and a better place and time.
Throughout his 40 years of painting, Perez has shared his talents and self-taught techniques with several budding naïve artists, including three wonderful artists whose artworks appear from time to time at GINA Gallery – Alonso Flores, Carlos Medina and his daughter, America Perez, who is currently a medical student in San Salvador.
The artist has had individual exhibitions throughout El Salvador and other Central American countries as well as in the USA, Canada and Japan, and has participated in several group exhibitions throughout the world, including all of the countries just mentioned as well as in Argentina, Spain, Taiwan, the Philippines and Israel (at Casa Argentina in Jerusalem in 1999 and, of course, at GINA Gallery over the past 15 years).
Fausto Perez currently lives in La Libertad, El Salvador.