It was great to start the week reading the article on the international rise of Colombian contemporary artists published in the Financial Times. For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know that I have spent the last two years researching and travelling around Latin America, with a keen focus Colombia and its vibrant art scene, so it was fantastic to see that my passion chimes with wider art trends.
My interest in Colombian art goes way back to 1987, when I was helping Delfina Entrecanales to establish the influential Delfina Foundation and met the Colombian artist Ofelia Rodriguez. I have represented and exhibited her work in the UK since then, and I organised and curated her comprehensive solo exhibition at the Consulate of Colombia in London last summer.
This summer is yet again full of excitement and promise to do with Colombian artists, since I am launching my Colombian Art Salon programme, which begins with the acclaimed painter Carlos Jacanamijoy (Colombia, 1964) and his exhibition Yellow wind and root of the wind tree. The show will be on view from the 13th of May to the 6th of June 2014 and will bring together five recent paintings of medium and large format that follow his major retrospective at MamBo, Bogota’s Museum of Modern Art, which took place in late 2013.
Over the last 20 years, the “Maestro Jaca” (Master Jaca), as he is known in Colombia, has steadily built a strong reputation based on his abstract paintings, which depict landscapes inspired by the Colombian tropical rainforest where he grew up. The paintings express the way in which a modern-day Inga envisions the mysterious interactions of the natural world with the spiritual powers of the indigenous world. His works, thus, beautifully connect ancient traditions with contemporary sensibilities. Jacanamijoy explores the specific questions of landscape and memory with vibrant colours and a shamanic view of nature, using native symbols to express a personal universe. These graphemes, which appear in each of his painting, constitute a large pictorial vocabulary that create a ‘reading’ experience that brings out the sensuality of his colours. Jaca’s is an abstract art that is, in fact, realistic, since it evokes a particular experience, which the artist summons from inside himself. It is a non-figurative type of painting that represents the artist’s vision and his universe, both material and intangible.
Then, from the 11th to the 27th of June 2014, coinciding with PINTA Art Fair, I will presenting the work of the painter Maria de la Paz Jaramillo (Colombia, 1948). Since the 70s, Jaramillo has tirelessly explored the complexities of the female universe through exuberant paintings that combine Pop and expressionistic techniques. For her first solo exhibition in London, Jaramillo will show Ellas, a series of portraits of women who are empowered and unabashedly sexual, but do not reject their vulnerability. These paintings are captivating in their use of bold colours and soft lines, as erotic and suggestive as the figures they contain. Their mood is celebratory, depicting the joys of love and everyday life, but seen from a feminist perspective. As Jaramillo herself has explained: “I decided to do this series to honour contemporary women. Women who are more open to the world and enjoy more possibilities thanks to the everyday battles fought by other women that came before them.” Jaramillo’s paintings invite the viewer to look at them closely, so that the textures of bodies, clothes and backgrounds can be admired. Her work poses a fascinating dialogue between a range of male-dominated avant-garde influences (from Fauvism to Pop) and feminist ideas. Jaramillo was commissioned to paint the portrait of the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and has recently completed a mural for the museum of the Medellin University in Colombia.
Both artists were established figures in the Colombian art scene before the international interest began. It is extremely exciting for me, as well as an honour, to be hosting what will be their first solo shows in the UK and to introduce their extraordinary work to the London audiences.
Continue to follow my blog for more information about upcoming exhibitions!