Remedios Varo, like Leonora Carrington, was part of a group of Surrealists living in Mexico City as refugees after World War II. These best friends collaborated on plays, spent afternoons drinking tea (then tequila) and traded alchemical recipes.They also knew Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera and the many other artists living in Mexico City.
What interests me so much though about Varo and Carrington is how their friendship crossed over into the realm of art. Though they both have very distinct styles, they also use saturated color, high comedy, alchemy, memoir and otherworldly perspective in similar ways.
In interviews both women credit the other as a major artistic influence. Art critics seem to think that Varo was more skilled with the technical aspects of painting having learned draftsmanship from her mechanically minded father. Carrington's paintings may be more intuitive but I don't know if these women would have looked at their work this way.
Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Kati Horna
In my own creative world I know that having close poet friends: Kathleen Flenniken, Elizabeth Austen, and Kelli Russell Agodon (as well as many others) has made an enormous difference to me. Writing together, collaborating on different projects, and sharing in each others lives is perhaps what has allowed me to consistently live as a poet in the world. Therefore it is such a deep joy to find the book Surreal Friends about the lives of Carrington, Varo, and Horna.
Tonight, especially, I am grateful for following this creative path with friends.