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English

Art gallery, Valencia (Spain)


Al otro lado del cristal

Al otro lado del cristal
Alejandra Icaza
Octubre 2009

Javier Hontoria

"Al otro lado del cristal"

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS

Alejandra Icaza likes to imagine herself on the other side of the glass, a glass through which to take in all the details of the show of light as the hours go by with their differing hues, because all lights parade in front of the window of her studio in Madrid with its stunning views to the south.
A view outside makes me wonder how much of the meridian will there be in the painting by this artist. I am sure this formulation sounds paradoxical but the solid Anglo-Saxon training by Icaza cannot be forgotten and her affinity for some of the clearest references in the scope of pictorial abstraction of the eighties and nineties.
The artist regularly exhibits in Brazil, where the language that is spoken is kindred to the language she speaks through her painting. There is a strong colourist tradition in that country from Helio Oiticica to Beatriz Milhaces, with whom Alejandra Icaza relates naturally.
It may sound a little bold, but I think in the light air of the south, the unexpected but decisive action of the light is different and uneven, and the warm wind that moves the earth, driving it against the surface of some pictures which, in narrative and formal terms are now richer than ever.
Because narration stands out in here paintings, something which at first is perhaps disconcerting, since her work would appear to be a constant exercise of abstraction.

Behind her characteristics, circular, monochrome blotches, arranged according to her own internal logic, there is a complex, dynamic vital plot, a world which, in spite of its fantastic appearance, is only related to what has actually been lived through. There is no fiction, she says, in her paintings. Only proof of the value of experience, the life that carries on before our own eyes, a reflection here, the abstraction of a shape there… The world in our hand. And if the figurative references dotted around the plane refer to experiences lived through, the circular blotches can only be interpreted as the luminous present of what is happening, the brightness of the days, eventful and slippery, skilfully captured on the retina of the artist’s eye.
The intuition of an evanescent memory and the tangible, full notion of what is real create a suggestive universe of tensions on each piece of canvas. There is a narrow and fertile relationship between the conceptual contents and the formal resolution in Alejandra Icaza’s art work.

The experiences, memories, stories and sensations which, through the figuration of a clear line, live on the canvases, acquire body from the different registers of light that build up on the plane. There are cloths, papers, circular shapes found in the jewellery shops… And there is a trend towards the decorative that is fresh and natural.
The result is an extraordinary rich surface. Likewise, in the photographs included in this exhibition, Icaza builds up her own wunderkammers, display images that contain objects that the artist turns into loyal travelling companions.
It doesn’t matter that someone has filed them before, because nothing belongs to anyone. Alejandra Icaza examines her nature, observes the gently incidence of light and quickly makes it her own, always from the other side of the glass.

Javier Hontoria