Cantos de Chile (Por Allende)
Wolfe’s “Cantos” were painted in response to the state terrorism of Pinochet’s Chilean dictatorship. As with all of his political work, Wolfe was directing his opposition toward his own government, in this case, American covert involvement in Central and South America; and his audience was the American public. However, the series of five canvases relates not to the violence experienced at that time by the Chilean people, but rather, it acknowledges their vitality and will for freedom through the use of expansive, brilliant fields of color and untethered geometric shapes. The series can, in a limited sense, be understood in the vein of Stella’s “Polish Village” series. Both artists use an abstract vocabulary to evocate a sense of mourning through celebration in the context of cultural loss due to mass violence.