Emilio Lobato: Mi Linda Soledad is the first retrospective of one of Colorado’s most prominent contemporary artists. The exhibition surveys Lobato’s nearly twenty-year career and presents more than sixty pieces, including mixed media works and monotypes. Mi Linda Soledad (My Beautiful Solitude) explores the aesthetic style and conceptual nature of Lobato’s work, as well as the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural influences that have distinguished his artistic practice.
“Do not miss this stunning double dose of significant works by a living master of Colorado abstraction.” –Westword
“Virtuosity permeates Denver artist Emilio Lobato’s mid-career retrospective” –Denver Post
The Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is pleased to present Emilio Lobato: Mi Linda Soledad, the first retrospective of one of Colorado’s most prominent contemporary artists. This exhibition surveys Lobato’s nearly twenty-year career and presents more than sixty pieces, including mixed media works and monotypes. Mi Linda Soledad (My Beautiful Solitude) explores the aesthetic style and conceptual nature of Lobato’s work, as well as the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural influences that have distinguished his artistic practice. Lobato’s incorporation of diverse cultural and creative elements is represented by a series of objects, many of which the artist has collected over the years, ranging from contemporary art, Asian artifacts, and African masks to old books with texts in different languages and Rio Grande textiles. Mi Linda Soledad, a title selected by the artist, alludes to Lobato’s exploration of the themes of solitude and isolation—subjects that have been central to his art from his earliest works to today. Lobato defines solitude as a physical, spiritual, and psychological state of being that can be either a serene personal haven or, at times, a locus of emotional turmoil. Isolation for the artist is what has been imposed on him through his environment, and the effect this has had on his art and sense of self.In this exhibition Lobato’s artistic journey is presented chronologically. A viewer can trace how his works have evolved and matured, beginning with his formative years in his birthplace of Alamosa, Colorado, followed by his university studies at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and then his subsequent move to Denver and his successful professional career that continues to the present day. Mi Linda Soledad attests to the continued vitality and relevance of Emilio Lobato’s work.
About Emilio Lobato
Emilio Lobato was born in 1959 in the village of San Pablo, Colorado. He grew up on a ranch in this sparsely populated area in the San Luis Valley. For sixteen generations his family has lived in the Southwest, herding sheep and cattle, and working the land originally received as part of a land-grant from Spain in the mid-1850s. His ancestors were also versed in the arts. His great grandfather was one of a long line of weavers. His father, who had minored in fine art as an undergraduate student and had a Master’s degree in education, was his art teacher in 7th grade. Lobato grew up in a deeply religious environment where he witnessed many sacred celebrations. The processions during Holy Week, in particular those by the Penitente Brotherhood, made a great impression on the young Lobato. The reenactment of the Stations of the Cross with men dragging heavy crosses, and crying faithful devotees singing sorrowful hymns and carrying bloody images of Christ were highly theatrical, awe inspiring and sadly profound.In rural Colorado, Lobato’s aspirations to become an artist made him an outcast. His isolation was not only physical, but also emotional and social. The young Lobato contemplated suicide. Faith helped him through these difficult times. Creating art gave him comfort and seeking a life of beauty was liberating. Books became his only solace, as reading allowed him to escape from the sadness, imagine where he aspired to be and who he hoped to become. Lobato felt destined to spend his life creating art. At the age of 19 after graduating from high school, Emilio Lobato left his hometown of San Pablo and moved to Colorado Springs to attend college.
In 1978, Lobato began his studies at Colorado College in Colorado Springs as an art major. At college, he pursued academic training that prepared him to artistically express his spiritual and creative explorations. He studied with noted artists Mary Chenoweth and Carl Reed, both of whom were great influences in Lobato’s approach to painting. Inspired by the isolated landscape of the San Louis Valley, he initially worked in a figurative style, but quickly realized that he was much more interested in expressing what he felt rather than what he saw or remembered seeing. He wanted to depict the interior landscape rather than a realistic one, and his works became meditations of memories from the past. Lobato graduated from Colorado College in 1982. At the time, he had found the academic experience in Colorado Springs intellectually and artistically stimulating, yet the city still felt confining. After spending a brief time in San Pablo, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and eventually settled in Denver in 1984 in search of greater exposure to the arts, and a more urban and culturally diverse environment. In 1985, Lobato thought about looking for work in an art-related field. A year later, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts paid internship at the Denver Art Museum’s Education Department. From 1986 to 1989, Lobato was hired on a contract basis at the Denver Art Museum to assist in the installation of exhibitions. In 1989 there was an opening in the Education Department and Lobato was hired. Working full-time for the next three years did not allow him much opportunity to work in his studio. In 1992, Lobato took a leap of faith and decided to leave the museum to devote all his time to creating art.
1959 – Emilio Lobato is born in San Pablo, Colorado
1978 – Moves to Colorado Springs to pursue a fine arts degree at Colorado College. Works in watercolor and ink in realistic and abstract styles
1982 – Graduates from Colorado College and briefly moves back to San Pablo
1982–84 – Moves to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where future wife Darlene Sisneros attends the University of Michigan Law School
1984 – Marries Darlene and they settle in Denver
1982–92 – Works full-time so little work is produced
1982–86 – Experiments with paper sculptures, canvas-wrapped river rocks, and jewelry
1986 – National Endowment for the Arts internship at the Denver Art Museum
1989–92 – Works in the Education Department of the Denver Art Museum
1992 – Leaves the Denver Art Museum and devotes himself to his art full-time
1992–93 – Works in an abstract expressionistic style dealing with deep psychological subject matter
1992 – Introduction to printmaking
1994–97 – Represented by Inkfish Gallery, Denver
1994 – Begins to incorporate collage into his paintings and spends the next two years perfecting and refining the technique. Work produced is in a geometric abstraction style.
1994 – Figurative Series
1995 – Organic Series
1996 – Oil and collage become his signature media
1997 – Joins William Havu Gallery, Denver
1998–early 2000s – Refined Abstraction Series; works heavily influenced by Asian aesthetics and philosophy
1998 – Travels to Havana, Cuba
1998–2004 – Cuba Series
2004–09 – Minimal Series
2005–07 – Black Circle Series
2004–present – Weaving Series