August Madrigal lives near Reedley, painting the San Joaquin Valley landscape from his studio window. “My work deals with what seems timeless—a constant renewal as seen in nature,” Madrigal says. “That is why the agricultural landscape of the San Joaquin Valley, with its vineyards and orchards, is an important element in my painting. It comes to life every spring and summer after a cold winter rest. The landscape is the heart of my painting.”
“Equally important to me are the geometric elements that I use, for if the landscape represents continuous life and energy, the geometric becomes a metaphor for the importance of the mind in giving this energy form—and it becomes fruitful.”
“In my paintings I strive for a balance between these two metaphors for it seems to me that this balance is also like a metaphor for the balance of mind and heart that many of us seek in our own lives—and sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The form that the geometry has taken in my work often appears to be architectural. I hope to give the impression of being inside a quiet space looking out at the landscape. Sometimes I will place a circle or a sphere with forms within as symbols of energy and life—of life, its spirt, and its renewal.”
Mr. Madrigal says he never planned on becoming a painter. While an architecture student at Fresno State, he took a course in art from John Ed Herbert, and all of a sudden “everything began to make sense,” so he changed his major. He continued his education at the Chicago Art Institute, then moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where he developed his painting skills. From Columbia, Mr. Madrigal went to the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and became a professor of art. He retired from teaching in 1986, but not from painting.
Mr. Madrigal has exhibited in New York, Madrid, Mexico City, and the Haggin Museum in Stockton. In December 1999 he opened his one-man exhibition at the then San Luis Obispo Art Center entitled “Beyond the San Joaquin.”
This painting was painted for and owned by Ralph A. Simon until his death in 2003. Donated to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection by Nancy Piver and Dixie Piver in 2012.