Rebeca Mendoza was born in Buenos Aires on October 24th 1967. Since she was very little she felt attracted to drawing and painting. At the age of six she stated painting on canvas-covered cardboard from a personal and free perspective even though she had never attended painting classes. At the age of 15 (1982), she entered the Regina Paccis School of Fine Arts and after completing her studies there she entered the Prilidiano Pueyrredón National School of Fine Arts where she was granted her degree of Professor of Painting in 1990. Her professors included Miguel Ángel Vidal y Ary Brizzi, among others. Outside these schools, the teachers that deeply influenced her career were Alberto Delmonte, painter, and Aurellio Macchi, sculptor.
Her beginnings were clearly figurative. In the ’80s she asserted that she only understood figurative art and that she would never paint abstract art. By that time, her paintings were portraits, still life and human figures. For seven years she studied live model with Aurelio Macchi, the distinguished Argentine sculptor. Focusing in the craft of drawing set the basis for one of her most important current concepts: “the structure of the body is a wholeness in which the good relationship between the parts contains the harmony of the whole.” Subsequently, it will be seen how this system of relationships defines in her a decisive way of observing and interpreting the universe.
Simultaneously, in the late ’80s, she entered the Painting Workshop of Alberto Delmonte, who introduced her to the first concepts of constructivist art of the Torres García School of the Río de la Plata. Once again, without being aware of it at that time, it was Delmonte who taught her about the relationships and structures that respond to themselves rather than to an imitation of reality. Undoubtedly, it was up to her to go deeper into that aspect and get rid of the need to consider the appearance of things. That stage was a period of synthesis and enjoyment of structures themselves. She started playing freely with certain natural symbols that emerged before her and used the golden number, or golden ratio, as composition method.
In 1994, in a trip to the United States, she became acquainted with a group of artists in New York and decided to stay there. Junko Ishijara, from Gallery Juno, was interested in her work and gave her the opportunity to prepare a solo show a year in advance. That was a turning point and she decided to look for a studio and settle in that city. She moved to Lower East Side, Manhattan, in Clemente Soto Vélez, an artistic center hosting more than 70 artists. For the following six years, she devoted her time to painting, participated in several shows, worked in Studio in a School as an artist/teacher and started practicing yoga and Zen meditation, two disciplines that helped resignify her work in relation to body, emotion and action. After being almost seven years there, she started travelling frequently to Argentina to be in contact with her beloved ones. She felt that it was a key moment in which she had to decide if she would stay in New York or if she would come back to Argentina.
I met her in 1999 and our friendship has been growing since then. Finally, she decided to come back to our country and work from her place of origin. A very rewarding fate was waiting for her here, with an immense humanistic growth, essentially. She founded, almost unknowingly, an art school where many people, including myself, found a space where to discover their inner self and express it through the plastic arts. With a highly convincing philosophy of self-knowledge, Rebeca immersed her students in their own universes so that they could bring out through the language of painting their deepest desires.
Throughout the following decade she worked tirelessly in her paintings and teaching in her workshop. In 2011, in Buenos Aires, Ricardo Coppa Oliver became interested in her work and since then he was the director of galleries who presented her work in several occasions in both solo and collective shows. On May 21th 2014, Ricardo inaugurated the show Dialogues by Rebeca and a group of students. This was the last show presented in his gallery, since several days later he passed away, leaving this show as the conclusion of his career as director of galleries. For Rebeca, the look of Ricardo Coppa was an invaluable stimulus, because of his prestige and experience as director of galleries, founder of Palatine, Principium, and then Galería Coppa Oliver, and also because he was the one directing the work of her teacher Delmonte when she was studying with him in the late eighties.
Today, after these comings and goings, Rebeca Mendoza, whom I deeply know, comes back to New York invited by gallery director Junko Ishijara to present Beyond Words in Gallery Juno.
Rebeca’s paintings have strong existential connotations, which do not only help her understand her passing through life, but also invite those who contemplate them to connect with the language she so deeply believes in and which she calls beyond words.
Agustina Lopez Saubidet