Rubén Leyva (b. 1953)
Rubén Leyva is considered to be one of Oaxaca’s greatest contemporary artists. In many regards, he follows a path similar to that to the great master, Rufino Tamayo. Like Tamayo, Leyva has made a clear and calculated decision not to follow in the artistic movement or trends of his native homethe internationally recognized Oaxacan School. With the bright and saturated colors (similar to Tamayo), his palette is most defiantly Oaxaqueño, but the rest of his inspiration is derived from contemporary art theory. His colorful “landscapes” are like subconsciously created maps. The playful, almost childlike compositions in his work are in fact a learned and complex skill that this artist mastered at Oaxaca’s Fine Art School. He portrays simple ideas and themes within dense and multifaceted atmospheres. Like a child at play, the artist relates his own joy of life and painting in his playful brushstrokes and scribbles. In his studio, the act of painting and the process of creating are one in the same. In 1995, Leyva’s work was chosen for the anniversary poster of the United Nations World Organization in New York. His international style became synonymous with the UN that year.