Tuesday, 8 September 2015


With this series of paintings I am marking my return to painting (intensively, I mean, since I had never stop painting as such).
These paintings have been influenced by the several years I have spent drawing, with charcoal and pencil, exploring nature, concretely, the urban nature of my natal city: Caracas, Venezuela.
The paintings that came before the drawings (and without these paintings there would not be any drawings), explored the painterly qualities of camouflage, as the landscape soldiers dress with. From painting uniforms I went to the landscape behind the soldiers, where they hide (with a great sense of the use and feel for the material, oil and waxy media, as Philip Guston).
I took me 3 years to develop the ATC series of drawings, charcoal and pencil. During this time I continued painting yet the formats were small, oval or circular, and concentrating on the more intimate and delicate images from my photo archive: flowers. These I consider to be camouflage studies, for utopian friendly soldiers, whose uniforms would inspire trust and take away the implication of the army's institutionalised violence.
These paintings were in acrylic, used almost like a watercolour, with transparencies. There were flat, with hardly any texture.

STUDY CAMOUFLAGE ROSE HIBISCUS ON BUSH No 2. 2013. Acrylic on canvas board. 40 x 30 cm

There was an element that appear quite often in my photo archive: deck chairs.  I recognised them as a symbol, a possible compositional element , with its whiteness and geometry and man-made quality. Benches, as deck chairs and tables, in my drawings were also used as elements to reminds us of the plants size, as to emphasise the overwhelming qualities of their growing cycle.

In my archive, there was also another element that appear always that I incorporated in my ATC drawings:  architectural elements, that put into context the monster-like plants.
In my large format drawing, furniture and architecture elements were left as white areas in the complex compositions.

Towards the end of 2014 I unrolled a large canvas (245 x 220 cm)  that I had intended for TROPICO CAMUFLADO, but never made it. 

It became DECK CHAIRS SERIES No 1. 2015. Oil on canvas, not stretcher. 245 x 220 cm. Hangs from a pole at the top.

I tried then to put into practice, in my painting, what I had learned from my drawings. In came a realistic approach towards the nature elements used in the composition, while furniture and architectural element acquired a symbolic status. The architectural archway-like structure make it almost like a old-fashioned photographic backdrop, its fictional qualities enhanced by the lack of stretcher, leaving the canvas irregular and loose on the bottom. The life-size deckchair, draw in such an angle that plays with the illusion of its availability for a minute's rest. It becomes an installation, quoting Las Meninas effect, drawing you in, playing at being an installation. Deck chairs became symbols of human presence and occupation, white and sterile contrast to a  green luscious mass. 

The paintings that followed were of different sizes, and considerable smaller. 

DECK CHAIR SERIES No 2. 2015. Oil on canvas, MDF shelf. 43 x 35 cm

DECK CHAIRS SERIES No 3. 2015. Oil on canvas board, wooden shelf. 29 x 61 x 9.5 cm. Private collection, Madrid, Spain.

With these two small paintings I managed to incorporated the use of white shapes as effective compositional elements, while letting all the lusciousness of the urban jungle come through. The white came for merging architectural and furnishing elements that became untouched areas, masked during the process in order to preserve as much of the canvas whiteness as possible. Also, with these paintings,  came the need to made them more objects that just bi-dimensional images, trying to elevating them to a sculptural level, while reconciling my very own need to incorporate sculpture into my work. I have to mention the difficulty that I had for years to paint on stretched canvases , square or rectangular. These small canvas and canvas board laid  in my studio for many years before I finally understood how to use these formats, to my satisfaction.

DECK CHAIR SERIES No 4. 2015. Oil on canvas. 76 x 152 cm

It was finalist in the Connect2Colour  competition, during Summer  2015 at Lacey Contemporary Gallery.

No comments:

Post a Comment