Un perfil dibujado en el espacio | Distante
19.11.19 | 21.02.20
Two adjacent and simultaneous shows of work by artist Gilda Picabea (Buenos Aires, 1974) were held in HACHE: Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, with text by Marita García, in gallery 1, and Distante, with text by Leticia Obeid, in gallery 2. Picabea’s works in both focus on the research and debate on the figure-background duality in painting that concerned Argentine concrete artists in the forties. On that basis, she produced two strikingly dissimilar series of abstract paintings.
Edgar Bayley, Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Prati, and Tomás Maldonado—among the members of the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención—“were concerned, whether in their theoretical works or in their paintings, with the self-referentiality of the painting as two-dimensional surface. Those artists understood that a non-representational visual structure required abolishing the figure-background reading and challenging the structure of the traditional support,” writes García in her text for Un perfil dibujado en el espacio. García describes the series of large-format and highly contrasting black-and-white works in this exhibition as “sharp, evasive, oblique”—titles of three of the works featured. Irregular shapes emerge from the sides of the canvas, reaching its middle or even the other side. Those shapes end (or do they begin?) in stark and jagged vertices. “Is the black surface the figure? Is the white plane the background? Or is it the other way around?” García asks. “Not one or the other. These are forms in tension, striving not to become background or figure, but for both to stay ‘up front,’ affirming surface and negating any possible three-dimensional reading. These paintings once again alight on that delicate spot of pictorial composition to challenge it anew and to propose a specific solution.”
With just three colors in each painting, Distante also “engages the relationships between figure and form, using the bare minimum to incite perception of what is upfront or behind,” asserts Obeid in her text. These are medium-format paintings, quadrilaterals of different size in which the artist painted polygons also of varying dimension and color (they widen or narrow from the sides towards the center without, nonetheless, distorting their four right angles). “The color comes from a whole that is not seen at first, but vibrates in the layers. Free-hand straight lines: Look carefully, up close!” Obeid goes on. “This is, unquestionably, painting that—in its elegant back and forth between distance and proximity—requires patience. Looking at all the works together, from afar, will undoubtedly produce a different set of sensations from looking at them from up close, seeing that each plane is made of lines and strokes, the traces of their making almost invisible.” In a present marked by “over information, by so many strident images and excess stimulation, works like these are an antidote. These artistic practices can show us a way of life we are desperately in need of.”
Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.