"In seeing the truth, Windsor
has added another perspective on how to see beauty."
BOOKS> Innocence abroad; The Girls of Coatepec
Summary of INNOCENCE ABROAD, The Girls of Coatepec
- AMBASSADOR'S FORWORD
- TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS Windsor lived and painted in a peaceful colonial town deep in the plantation country in the state of Veracruz, an old and mystical part of Mexico.
In painting the young girls of Coatepec, the artist discovers the truth, beauty and fragility of the world they inhabit and often command. Though modern, middle-class children, he portrays them amid the pots and vases and antique robes and shawls of old, recalling their culture and that of their Victorian sisters in far off lands.
"Indeed, they’re not ugly Americans – they’re beautiful Mexicans. They come from a culture informed by a sense of tragedy and community. Mexico is a place where people have a strong sense of their own identity independently of whatever identity is forced upon them by the mass media and capitalist manipulation.
Windsor’s girls are innocent because they seem to know nothing of impersonal, anonymous modern society – they don’t watch television, they don’t go to the movies, they don’t date boys, they don’t wear the latest hip clothing. Instead, they look at art, or present themselves as works of art – Windsor's models are works of high human art."
[EXCERPT from Donald Kuspit's Sentimental Journey.] Foreword by
Miguel Ruiz-Cabanas Izquierdo
Ambassador of Mexico to Japan
and essays by
Donald Kuspit, art historian, professor, SUNY
Jeff Fishel, professor emeritus, American University
Scott JT Frank, Epiphany Pictures
Quotes taken from the INTRODUCTION:
"In the family dynamic here the girl does not win a lot of press. That’s reserved for the male of the species, the father, eldest son and his brothers. The mother, the anchor around which the family boat pivots in high seas and low, has gained recognition only recently as politicians find voter appeal in paying mostly perfunctory tribute to issues that effect her. As an artist he finds her more liberated than the boy here or, to some degree, anywhere else; she’s more open, in general, to revealing a character uncorrupted by the socially driven posture the boy must undertake, again, here or anywhere. She is unabashedly honest, without yet having the skills to be so diplomatically. Her humor and giggles are irrepressible. She occupies a fragile, if delightful, hold on reality."
"The mystical Girls of Coatepec is a Mexican story. It’s told in a series of paintings of more than a dozen models from many parts of this small town and from all walks of economic life there. It’s the artist’s story, too, of course, but only secondarily, for he did no more than paint them and, when the mood struck, write about them.
For the 70-year-old American artist with a host of international credentials, those years would mark a journey that began only when he could abandon his ego to accept what his model could teach him about life, history and the culture of her proud country."
|Within this small creature somewhere is an Old Mexico. It’s a delicate quality she sadly will lose to time. Much too soon, brown legs churning, she will dash into and be swallowed by the crowd. So, study her while you can. She could come from no other place.
The sun has yet to warm more than the rooftops. The three of us walk briskly along the narrow sidewalk, I, behind the man and his daughter. She is, maybe, seven years old. She adheres to the dress code: white socks folded below the knee, pleated skirt in school colors, scrubbed face. Her hair is elaborately braided. Holding her father's hand, she glances up at him every few yards. He's a stoic, looking straight ahead. The three of us walk in time to the throb of drums from the belly of the school. The bugles are passionate, if uneven. He wears a conservative sport coat, slacks; a businessman, maybe, or a political functionary. Her book bag, a poisonously bright pink, is strapped to his back. The two of them walk hand in hand. He does not look at her. Still, she walks proudly, hoping to catch his glance or, failing that, the glance of others. Across from the school the street is choked with mothers and children spilling out of taxis and private cars. Bugles war with car horns. It’s hard not to notice that Tweedy Bird, the cartoon character, is stenciled on the book bag he’s carrying for her. The bird has been bulked up some and has pried open the bars of her cage for escape. The printing below is in English. “Girls,” it says, “have all the power.” They cross the road to the school. In front of it he peels off the bag and hands it to her. She grabs hold of a strap and kisses the cheek he stoops to present. She is off before he gets upright, swallowed in the crowd, brown legs in a high gallop. Already she's with friends. He stands watching after her. He’s reluctant to leave, even now when she’s inside and out of sight. The crowd of kids and parents stream around him. Sometimes he’s jostled. Still he waits, looking toward the entrance, as though she would come back.
At last he turns, slowly, crosses the street toward me. He could be a merchant, a college professor, a salesman. He could be anybody. If it weren’t for his sad-stricken face, he could be anybody at all.