October 22, 2020

The plastic abstraction of Luisa Urréjola


Within the suggestive universe of abstraction, there is an imagination that is inspired by form and another that is motivated by matter. Both trends converge in Luisa Urréjola’s work. This is the reason why it is so important to investigate and know the materials of her works; how they spread on different surfaces and how they behave on different textures. In the complex world of associations and intensities of elements that combine in a work of art, matter is always selective. In the dark dream of materials, organic forms inhabit that have their skin and even their own aroma.

‘Armonía abstrácta’, in La Regenta, is conceived as a tour of his work since 2003, the date of ‘Abstract painting’


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In the works that were presented in the Abstract Painting exhibition in the Literary Cabinet in 2003, the determination to approach postulates of the postpictorial abstraction of the Hard Edge or as it was known, painting with sharp contours but with a predilection for organic form was already seen. It can be said that in the work of Luisa Urréjola there is a constant confrontation between the rational and the organic without ever falling into the romantic atmospheres of some pictorial trends. Chance has never been an ally of her painting either. Each compositional element is perfectly thought out and defined with its color and texture. This denotes the existence of an artist who is very aware of her work and therefore does not invite the viewer to see beyond what is in the painting, without metaphors and without evocative references to nature. What is seen is what is and what is does not stop seducing us.

It is in the individual that Luisa carried out in the Literary Cabinet in 2011 where we found a small series on methacrylate Look to the interior that surprises with its delicacy. The transparency of the methacrylate allows it to be painted on both sides, so there is a gap of millimeters between the shapes. The composition begins to have a spatial component. The separation of the exhibition wall enables the incorporation of light as a new compositional material. The lighting creates areas of light and shadow in front of and behind each piece. The possibilities are endless. The contours of the forms seem to vanish as they become semi-darkness and give the paintings a spectral projection space. I remember the interest of Clara Muñoz (Santoña 1954, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2015), director of the room, for these pieces that she described as exquisite. The lighting gives the works a certain margin at random. In fact, they are different depending on whether the lighting of the place is directed or intensified, so the works are only finished once they are located in the room. Perhaps this was the reason why the artist delved into this experience in part of her later work. Once again, matter inspires form. The transparency of the support allows us to observe the minimum thicknesses of the paint sheets. The light invites us to play. The methacrylate support, like the water in which Narcissus is reflected, is now a material that can be transferred.

If we delve into the plastic matter of painting, we could see the artist as an alchemist. Their job is to mix pigments with chemicals that generate something similar to meat that spreads to form a skin. If we see it this way, we could understand the sensuality that exists in Luisa’s work. The resulting form already solidified tells us about its fluid past, it does not renounce it. The pieces made with earth and water, once hardened, have the texture of the solid but the plastic, unlike the already dry mud, maintains the shine of the liquid, and that is why it is strange. You want to touch it to check that it does not stain and is something solid. That is why it gives the piece something of unreality. Solidified resin belongs to the world of liquids, although it has definitely abandoned that condition. Aware of this, Luisa plays with the viewer by placing an aluminum plate in the room on which she has spread chemical resins (epoxy) to create cut-out organic shapes. The way the material behaves on a horizontal surface is studied by the artist to be aware of her poetics. In some ways it is a testimony to her way of working since, although the support is often presented vertically, the work has previously been carried out in a horizontal position. It is by changing the position that the work becomes decontextualized and surprises us. The piece on the floor is a step that he previously took in the collective On painting exhibited at CAAM in 2013, as a way of delving into the poetics of the matter with which he works and that now returns to find new connotations.

Compositional imbalance is a resource that provides a source of creative freedom


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The compositional imbalance is a resource that provides many of the works presented with a halo of creative freedom. The content of these pieces seems to be the result of a cut-out of another larger piece that has been left out of the picture. In general, it can be seen that clipping is a strategy frequently used by the artist since her 2003 and 2004 ink-on-formica works. Regardless of the constant use of flat paint, it could seem that there are different planes. This is one of the characteristics of her work that seems to give each piece a depth. In some cases, the aluminum support projects reflections that accentuate this intention. The resin itself favors this effect, as we can see in the works carried out in 2018. That is why her work is so conditioned by the assembly, lighting and space of the room, which revives the dynamic and complex character of the work presented.

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