This hidden treasure of paintings has traveled with Washington Ledesma for the last 40, 50 years. Hidden, because wrapped up in bubblewrap, in a corner of a basement of wherever he happened to be living, these fascinating paintings never saw the light of day until now. Washington never showed these paintings from that period to anyone. They represent a difficult time in his life, a period of ferocious “Sturm und Drang”.
The comfortable life in Uruguay of an up and coming artist abruptly came to a halt. The Generals took over the country and Washington was advised to leave his country and family from one moment to the next. On the plane to New York he carried one canvas with him which is now NFS in this collection.
Mid-seventy’s New York was a hustling and bustling place. People, noise, smog, & street people all around. A wild place for a fairly naive, straight, handsome, unprepared, young artist from Uruguay. A world that crowded in on him, took over his soul, a world that required money, a new language that he did not speak, and a culture that was entirely foreign to him. Vulnerable, he entered into a marriage which produced love, two babies and in-laws, which crowded him even more. All he could do was paint; paint to save himself, to defend himself, against The Generals and against this exciting new world that threatened to obliterate him entirely.
These Washington paintings from the Eighties and Nineties speak for themselves. He also began to pot, a quiet, solitary occupation. He moved to rural Pennsylvania and built a reputation in the world of ceramics with a business named “Tranquil Hands”. Eventually he settled on the Vineyard where he took up a painting brush again. Now not to defend himself, but, this being a time and place to allow his innate sense of caring and humor to come to the fore in paintings, Noah’s Arks, Trees Of Life and of animals and people.
Looking at this hidden treasure trove of earlier paintings, has been quite a journey.
The exhibition is free and open to the public every weekend, Friday through Sunday, from 11 to 5pm.
from November 19 through December 19, 2021
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