essays - press
Mutant 10, 2000, detail
E S S A Y S
ONCE OUT OF CHAOS. William Drenttel, 2009. Design Observer
Natural sounds and natural lighting inform this elegiac mediation on making — on art formulated and gridded from the detritus of painting. This meticulously-paced video by Richard Devereaux takes the time to capture the beauty of hundreds of individually-sewn stitches, softly wavering in the breezes of a warm afternoon. Pauline Galiana painted Silent Cells in 2004, exploring the repetition of forms on a grid, then the repetition of the paintings as a series. She saved hundreds of paper rags used to wipe her oil brushes, and then in 2008-09 began a new series of collages, Winter of Will. Sewn gently onto organic fabric, she creates a new, breathing grid. Galiana's work is a mediation on domesticity and the recycling of creative energy. And Richard Devereaux is a patient, thoughtful filmmaker.
TALKATIVE CELLS: Pauline Galiana, Olga Hubard and Sandra Pani. Karen Cordero Reiman, México, DF, June 2008
Ramis Barquet Gallery, Monterrey, June 27-August 31, 2008
For these three artists, art is part of daily life. Their work, elaborating on motifs from their quotidian context, taking up loose threads, adding on and superimposing translucent levels of meaning in relation to preexisting elements, affirms that accumulation and the passage of time generate new creative possibilities. Their work is an extension of their lives, a way of getting to know themselves, of discovering who they are and reinventing themselves. It coincides with what Helène Cixous has called “feminine writing”, writing from the body, from the interior, from a place of unknowing, a place that nurtures forms of representation that escape narrativity, strict definitions and binary oppositions, including the binary conception of sexuality and gender.
Olga Hubard’s painting is serial in character, and at the same time destabilizes us with respect to its visual and spatial referents. It alludes to organic forms, both of plants and the human body, but at times seems to reflect their interior structures while in other instances it uses these elements as part of patterns that tend toward a signifying order without ever becoming strictly symmetrical. In still other cases these natural elements are combined with more conceptual labyrinthine forms that seem to confirm the metaphorical nature of this artist’s constructions. Each work, then, represents a voyage of self-discovery through perception, and at the same time a compenetration with those subjective elements to which their author has given form. Our gaze navigates among the multiple layers of paint applied and superimposed, that remit us to different allusions and construct diverse emotions, producing modest, evocative works that invite meditation, through the ways in which they appeal both to the body and the imagination.
While Hubard’s works seems to open windows that reveal landscapes of fluctuating identity, Sandra Pani’s work also articulates a process of identification between the body and nature, particularly with trees. In Pani’s case, however, rather that inviting us to penetrate the forest, the figures erupt from textured, subtle backgrounds, asserting the presence of trees, branches, hands and torsos that often appear simultaneously as wounds, in strident tones of red and black, on a neutral surface. They recall our bodily fluids and menstrual stains, marking cycles and imprints that suggest a pendular movement between our interior and exterior, as well as discordant, painful, poetic—but also quotidian—presences. When they are structured in poliptychs, they offer an almost infinite range of narrative possibilities. When isolated, they emanate a certain totemic force, which nevertheless is mitigated by the artist’s deliberate use of linear and spatial ambiguity.
The work of Pauline Galiana shares with that of Pani and Hubard a sense of accumulative, process oriented production that develops and grows on the basis of an initial intuition or impression, but Galiana remits us in a more playful tone to referents in our everyday visual and material culture. She incorporates dice, candy and kitchen product labels—among other elements—into her images, recycling leftover elements from previous artworks to construct models that seem like organic systems or anthropomorphic machines. Her work as a whole, with its more varied, colorful palette and its use of visual elements that have a certain affinity with graphic design, moves between the natural and mechanical regimes, locating the body not only from the interior but as a social interlocutor.
The dialogue established between these three artists in Talkative Cells, then, invites reflection on our encounters with aesthetic experience in everyday life, and the diverse modes of registering and transforming them into creative production. Through the works structural openness, shared lexical elements and expressive and formal diversity, Talkative Cells facilitates the viewer’s psychological and corporeal compenetration with the artwork, and a meditation on multiplicity that counteracts a rigid, dichotomical conception of gender. Together, then, these artists create a conversational space, of encounter with the other and with ourselves, where the relations between the works construct suggestions regarding the perception of reality from the vantage point of feminine experience, relations that are more than a simple summation of the exhibition’s component elements, opening nonexclusive interpretative horizons with respect to our interiors and exteriors.
SHE WHO PUTS IT ALL SO WELL. Alexander García Düttmann. Middlesex University, London, 2003
I do not know any other artist who is as eloquent on the subject of their own work, as accurate in their self-judgement. When, looking at her work as closely as possible, I listen to her talk about a new series of paintings, collages or boxes that she has just started or completed, not only do her words shed a precise and clear light on the work, a light neither too weak nor blinding, but they also reveal my inability to grasp what is right in front of me and appears quite finished, like a simple truth free of all discourse. I must repeat the same tautological and stupid phrase: "That's it." Nevertheless, there is in Pauline's work an affinity between what she practices, both a form of creation and a form of collection, and her discourse, through which language reflects on itself as well as on the particular work of art. For what is a series if not a continual displacement and renewal of one's attention, triggered by an impulse that points to an unknown source. What is a series if not a constant interlinking that prevents the eye from pausing on a certain object, forcing it to join a procession without a beginning and an ending, and perhaps also without a goal? Once the first and the last component have been identified, a series ceases to be a series. It speaks and at the same time it is strangely mute; as if a series were a little bit of pure sense, of sense pure and simple, or as if meaning had to wait until an end is reached in order to free itself from the immanence of an uninterrupted referral and thus dominate the series from a transcendent position, a position alien to the series itself. By definition, a series is something one vows to return to later, either because one wishes to see or hear what is still to come or because it is hard to stop midstream and understand what one has seen so quickly that the different components have become all blurred. It is an ongoing murmur. The essence or the truth of the series is never present, for it is a process that makes and remakes itself forever, both continuously and discretely; like cells dividing.
Pauline has a passion for creating series. Hence, the only question I would like to ask her today is this: What on earth has led you to produce series like that, to put everything in a series, to fill up the walls of your home with contiguous series, with series of series? The answer, the one I give myself as if it came from her, comes quickly: I tell myself that Pauline wants to be in the middle - neither at the beginning nor at that point where everything appears to conclude. If Pauline manages to say everything and say it well, it is because she has a passion of which all the series she has created are merely the visible trace. It matters little whether what is at stake is discursive language or an object multiplied according to a serial progression, for the discourse is an integral component of the series. The lack of seriousness essential to the series, the frivolity of the gaze that moves from one cell to the next, that slides from one component to the other, do not in any way keep Pauline from touching the real thing, the thing itself. Therefore, one would need to say that she discovers the play at the heart of contemplation or the contemplation at the heart of play.
What she says and what she does is beautiful. I do not want here to grant any privilege to the creative act, to the act of creating works that take shape from their belonging to a series, especially under the pretext of speaking about the work of an artist. Kant got it already, though he did not provide an explicit formula for it. If the contemplation of an object that proves beautiful attempts to reproduce itself by seeking some form of internal causality, the shere stupidity of such contemplation requires a certain degree of variation so as not to tire of itself or so as to become contemplation in the first place. Put otherwise, contemplation becomes contemplation there where it becomes participation, there where one moves from one cell to another in the series.
P R E S S
Stilo Magazine. May 2014.
Affordable Art Fair May 2010 - New York Post
Affordable Art Fair May 2010 - France Amérique.com
Beyond the Fray, Art Sites Gallery, June 2009 - Visionary Art.net
Beyond the Fray, Art Sites Gallery, June 2009 - Easthamptons Star
Gycouture.blogspot.com, June 2009
Talkatives cells, Ramis Barquet Galeria, June 2008 - El Norte