Fernando Clemente – Norberto Gil – Santiago Picatoste – Rebeca Ferrero

The foundations of the symbol

Patricia Bueno del Río

Around 1940, Barnett Newman asked himself why paint, possibly because in his time, the conceptual was making its way into a world in which the hegemony of thought was becoming increasingly important.  “Everything has a form, and every form has a meaning”, suggested Josef Albers, aware that in creation there was no merit or apocryphalism in exalting colour and matter as the sole reason for its existence when it came to painting.

Offering a deconstructed, personal and subjective image of the world seems today to be the most romantic way of creating a plausible image, simply for the value of cementing thought and for the audacity of showing it in a world in which direct messages prevail. This is why the different ways in which artists confront the creation of abstract forms are mysteries that do not attend to methodical reasoning, perhaps because in the action of stripping away the burden – the material and sometimes the conceptual – only the intentionality of the one who creates is left uncovered, that is, the truth of the painter who paints, his sense of aesthetics and his mastery of technique, questions which are not currently praised, but which are true because, in the sack of hedonism, who is unburdened enough to be able to cast the first stone? .

In the case of the artists in the exhibition, this way of thinking seems to fit in with their working methodologies, making use of simple abstracted forms that appear combined in personal compositions on spaces that are almost always unreal.

This is the case in the work of Fernando Clemente (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, 1975), an artist with an intimate and emotive painting that tends towards a particular abstraction.  In his latest stage, Clemente has investigated the physical qualities of pictorial creation, of the object, and has enriched his artistic language with drifts that pursue formal analogies between plastic and musical composition, in which rhythm, colour and line are perceived as equidistant components.

His creations are a display of enthusiasm, a feeling difficult to rationalise, which awakens the creative explosion. His geometry situates the spectator, while colour envelops him. But at the same time, he uses masterly resources that endorse him as a painter of method, such as highlights, shadows and overlaps, and denotes the existence of a certain nostalgia for the primitive, for purity.

Norberto Gil (Seville, 1975), on the other hand, carries out an abstraction that starts from a pre-established idea. In his works, one can guess forms that refer to architecture or elements of it, through the use of acid colours, studied compositions and a flawless workmanship.

Contemplating his creations, one is forced to discern the purification of the forms, which are reduced to their fundamental components: lines, planes and cubes.

Structurally, he presents an overwhelming harmony, through his studied previous work of proportion and composition, with which he obtains as a result a painting of great balance between geometry and colour. This is why his works are basically constructive, even though they manage to stimulate the eye, stimulate the memory and stimulate thought.

As for the work of Santiago Picatoste (Palma de Mallorca, 1971), it goes without saying how long he has been pursuing his career and highlighting his capacity to evolve, since he is an artist who combines his very strong personality with a constant vocation for research and a great capacity to evolve, which has led him to go through different stages, now finding himself at a moment of synthesis in which he amalgamates his recognised abstract style with a certain reminiscence of the world of Comic strips.

Picatoste creates, now as before, keeping in mind the spontaneity and alchemy in the creative process, but his plastic idea becomes more and more expressionist.

His latest creations use an innovative and eco-friendly material, polyvinyl acetate, which he uses as a binder for his pigment and which is created from recycled plastics obtained from the oceans.

Moreover, his cosmopolitan style, which contrasts with his systematic use of instinctive gesture, connects him to the styles of the 20th century American avant-garde and links him to the premise that links him to his other poster partners, the conceptual reduction to the fundamentals of his work, or as they say in the guild: linking it to the orbit of “painting”.

Finally, Rebeca Ferrero (Béjar, Salamanca, 1990), a young artist whose creativity gives her enough coverage to be the fourth bastion of the show. Her work, abstract and innovative, combines her plastic capacity with the risk derived from the personal use of the technique she employs, since, from engraving, she creates genuine compositions based on the superimposition of various treated canvases, resulting in a unique and subjective work, based on the genre of landscape.

The resulting scenes are suggestive and attractive; evanescent, which makes the spectator immerse himself in a kind of dreamlike episode that invites him to think and feel. His originality lies not only in the innovative use of technique, but also in the selection of materials – the canvases – which he superimposes, combines and manipulates in order to make the form more concrete, beyond the simple support. A use that recalls, in essence, Louise Bourgeois’ mythical phrase: “Weaving as a way of healing”.

In short, a heterogeneous and sublime cast, who make use of semantic ambiguity to project an enigma for the spectator’s gaze, who is challenged and acts between the desire to see and the difficulty of discerning what is being told.

Imagination is indomitable and arouses emotion by awakening internal questions that reach the reason and the intellect, but which start from the gaze, that is, knowing how to see the coded codes sent to you by the makers of chimeras that are far from mimesis. Those who undress in front of their production to reveal the origin, or what is the same: the language, the medium and the idea.

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