San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Math-minded Artist Exhibits ‘Palimpsestos’

Alonso Durán, 42, was on track to becoming an engineer but never finished his degree. Born in the Central Valley coffee town of Grecia, west of San José, Durán took up painting and graphic design at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), and this time, he finished.
However, despite the switch to creativity, Durán said he still has a highly active scientific and mathematical side of the brain.
“I’ve always been inspired by concepts of physics and mathematics,” he told The Tico Times.
Art lovers can get an impression of the science at work inside the artist’s brain at Durán’s exhibit “Palimpsestos,” on display through Feb. 10 at Amodeo Art in Motion, a gallery Durán co-founded last year in the western San José neighborhood of Rohrmoser (TT, Nov. 2, 2007).
Durán was inspired by the “Lissajous figures,” he said, the curves and parabolic forms  detailed in the mid-19th century by French mathematician Jules Antoine Lissajous.
“Horizontal waves and vertical waves meet to create a totally new, hybrid form,” he said, describing some of the figures in his latest works. “I tried to paint them in one solid stroke, like Chinese writing, based on the continuous movement of the arm.”
In addition to Lissajous, Durán found art in layers, which is where the notion of the palimpsest, the exhibit’s title, comes into play. A palimpsest is a manuscript page that has been written on, rubbed off, and then written on again.
“But it always leaves a trace of what was there before,” Durán said.
In some cases, the artist took digital prints and brushed over them with a layer of white acrylic paint, only to begin illustrating on top again.
“My work uses a lot of transparency, with layer on top of layer; but still, the original work shows through below,” he said.
Durán has previously exhibited his work in such San José spaces as the Children’s Museum’s National Gallery and the National Theater’s Joaquín García Monje Gallery, as well as in Cuba, El Salvador and the U.S. state of California.
The artist’s work sells for anywhere from $250 for smaller works on paper to $3,000 for larger paintings on canvas.
Amodeo Art in Motion is located 100 meters before the end of Rohrmoser Boulevard and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, when appointments are by request only. For more info, visit or call 291-1908 or 387-1338.

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