Artist and international art educator Bruce Robert Sherratt and his then wife Lesley Maddox, a British sculptor, lived in Jocotepec. at the western end of Lake Chapala, from 1968 to 1970. Prior to their arrival in Mexico, they had lived and traveled for some time in the USA.
Bruce Robert Sherratt was born in Biddulph, Derbyshire on 31 May 1944. Sherratt gained a degree in drawing and painting from the Camberwell College of Arts in London, England, prior to traveling overseas. Many years later, as a mature student, he also completed a degree in Art Education from the University of Wales in Cardiff, U.K.
Sherratt has written of fulfilling a youthful ambition by traveling to Mexico, where he gradually established his own identity as a surrealist painter, “hypnotized by the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec mythology” and “drawn to the giants of Mexican revolutionary muralism such as Orozco, Rivera, Tamayo and Siquieros.”
After reaching Jocotepec, the young couple rented a huge house called “El Kiosko”, “with spectacular views of the entire lake”, set up their studio, and got to work. Sherratt describes them as “hermits”, obsessed by their work: “We were very serious, determined to develop our work and we were very ambitious.” They had relatively little connection to the Lakeside art scene of the time, though they did frequent Ramon’s bar on the plaza and got to know Jocotepec artists (Don) Shaw and John Frost.
During his time in Mexico, Sherratt held several exhibitions of his work , including solo shows at the Anglo-Mexican Cultural Institute in Mexico City (1968) and at the Galería Municipal in Guadalajara (1969). The show in Mexico City was at the encouragement of the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington.
After his time in Jocotepec, Sherratt traveled to California, where he painted for a year in San Francisco, His work was exhibited in a group show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1970) and in an exhibit entitled “Surrealist Painters in San Francisco”, in the Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco (also 1970).
The following year, he had another exhibit of oils and drawings in Guadalajara, in the Galeria Municipal. In a review for El Informador, John Frost called it “a passionate description of a trip to another world”, writing that Sherratt, “guides us through regions that could alarm and depress us if it was not for his vision and artistic discipline”.
After his time in San Francisco, Sherratt decided to travel the world and spent several years meandering through Latin America. He became sufficiently interested in the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, and color theory, to return to the UK to take a degree in Art Education, before becoming a respected international art educator, whose teaching career has taken him to international schools in Germany, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Sherratt’s studio is currently in Ubud on the island of Bali in Indonesia, where he is the founder and CEO of the Bali Center for Artistic Creativity (BCAC). The powerful and colorful images on his website show there are few limits to his imagination and artistic abilities. In the past twenty years or so, he has exhibited in numerous countries, including several shows in Jakarta, Indonesia: a retrospective at the Duta Fine Arts Foundation (1998), a show entitled “Synthesis and Abstraction” at the British Council (2001) and an exhibition at the ExpatriArt Gallery (2005).
Sincere thanks to Bruce Sherratt for sharing, via email, some of his memories from his time in Mexico.
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