La Conservera Opens Seventh Series of Exhibitions

La Conservera presents it’s series series of exhibitions. Maureen Gallace, Ángel Mateo Charris & Gonzalo Sicre, Jorge Peris, Diana Al Hadid, Sala Verónicas, Martin Jacobson, on view 17 September 2011–8 January 2012.

For this series of exhibitions, each artist has travelled from the Region of Murcia to a foreign country, or vice versa. The shows presented here are real, mental or dream journeys, in which each of them develops his or her own particular logbook. Journeys, as sensory and physical experiences, are the common thread running through this series, where landscapes and memories take centre stage.

Sala Verónicas

Martin Jacobson (Stockholm, Sweden, 1978)
The Traveller’s Guide to the Other Side

Martin Jacobson creates visual collages assembled from images he finds in flea markets and antique shops, selected to fit the interests and myths he pursues in his work. He rummages through the detritus of art history, looking for books of illustrations, postcards and prints. The images he selects centre on the relationship between time, history and the individual within his or her milieu, but he also works with images related to symbols and their meanings, transitions and oppositions, dreams and reality, the physical and the intangible. These collages are subsequently transformed into new images, old and new at the same time. His sense of curiosity and his whimsical recombination of the iconography of art history, objects, landscapes, architectural forms and natural phenomena serve to destabilise an ordered understanding of the world.

Martin Jacobson’s journey begins in Stockholm and its final destination is Murcia. The Traveller’s Guide to the Other Side is, as the title of the exhibition indicates, an outward and inward journey, from sleep to wakefulness. The works in the show deals with the big and the small, the drawing of lines and the crossing of borders in time, space and mind.

The show, produced in its entirety by La Conservera-Sala Verónicas, consists mainly of a three-piece installation entitled The Traveller’s Guide to the Other Side. The installation consists of a two-dimensional wall-drawing, mirrors, perceived as both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, and a sculpture. Together these elements manifest a staged image. A theatre with backdrop and props. The visitors become both audience and performers.

La Conservera

Maureen Gallace (Stamford, CT, USA, 1960)

Maureen Gallace’s small-scale oil paintings have evolved out of the history of American landscape painting and out of her own conceptual rigour. Her intimate works on canvas and panel have become increasingly reductive and complex over the years.

Gallace’s accounts take place in and around her hometown of Monroe in rural Connecticut and family summer vacations on Cape Cod. Gallace’s paintings are rendered in deliberate, considered strokes, each of which is essential to holding the delicate light and space she has constructed. They take up a lineage, from Cézanne and Gwen John to Morandi and Ryman, of what could be called homemade, rather than machine-made, modernity. The pictures border on the abstract, and have almost no human presence. Her devotion to a firm set of conditions has drawn comparisons to figures like Agnes Martin or Donald Judd, artists who searched for poetry among the limited.

In 2005 Maureen Gallace took part in a residency at the Chinati Foundation (Marfa, Texas). This legendary institution, located in a former military fort covering an area of 340 acres, was originally conceived for the purpose of exhibiting works by Donald Judd, John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin, and its residency programme was founded by Judd himself. This, together with the Murcia views presented in this show, is one of the few occasions on which Gallace has focused her attention on a landscape other than her own home region.

Ángel Mateo Charris (Cartagena, Spain, 1962) & Gonzalo Sicre (Cadiz, Spain, 1966)

Painting is a journey: this may sound like a cliché, but for some people it is true, and so it is for these artists. Many of their works have been sparked by travel, by the very idea of wandering, of a transit space, of border territories and of time frozen between two destinations, and sometimes, as in Charris’s cycle of works on Mali and Lapland, or Sicre’s on India, some of their projects are actually rooted in and articulated through the exotic. And at times a journey to a geographical place has had another metaphorical territory superimposed on it, a painted land, a continent of art, like the trip (and subsequent exhibition) to the American painter Edward Hopper’s Cape Cod.

The new destination they have tackled is another painter, Leon Spilliaert, and another land, painted in Ostend, the little city in Flanders where he was born and in which Ensor and Permecke also lived and worked (a very dense concentration of art history for such a small place, a node of intensity in the great European network). On a series of journeys, with the Belgian painter of dark geometries and peopled silences constantly before them as their guiding light, Charris and Sicre have tried to find the entrances where the painted and real worlds meet (not always an easy task in the tourist resort Ostend has now become with its conventional architecture), working on the basis of both the historical and the literary, truth and appearance, certainty and confusion, so as to be able to attain the real object of this journey: a neglected area of their own work, new postcards of their own world with which they were not yet acquainted.

Jorge Peris (Alcira, Spain, 1969)
Winged Souls

The origin of Jorge Peris’s project, on which he has been working full-time for the last two years, lies in the intersection of childhood memories, travel, exploration and necessity. Salt, around which Winged Souls is constructed and articulated, has always been part of his life in one way or another, but now he has finally resolved to carry the process of working with this material to its logical conclusion.

His latest projects focus on working with salt as raw material. His journey begins in Murcia, at the salt flats of San Pedro del Pinatar, and culminates in the untamed, spectral landscape of the Uyuni salt desert in Bolivia, where he has experienced at first hand the sensation of being surrounded by this material on all sides at 3,650 metres (12,000 feet) above sea level. The desert is on the Bolivian Altiplano, in the region of Potosí in the Andes, and is the largest salt desert in the world, with an area of 12,000 km2 (4,633 square miles). Despite the industrial exploitation of its resources, the height of the desert is increasing by an average of 5 cm of salt per year.

The exhibition, comprising 170 tons of salt, is organised around a large tower built entirely out of this material, with special emphasis on the construction process, which involves a mixture, in differing proportions, of organic architecture—self-creating and self-organising—and sculpture of the most classical kind. This structure seems to have been carved out of a great block of salt and is full of references and connotations of its own, such as landscape, ruins and literature.

Diana Al-Hadid
Play the Wolf Fifth

Diana Al-Hadid’s sculptures are constructed in Baroque architectural forms, such as towers, mazes and church organs, which appear to be in ruins. Using materials like cardboard, plywood, plaster and resin, her works are replete with influences from and references to ancient Biblical and mythological narratives, both Eastern and Western, Arabic oral traditions, Gothic architecture, Western icon painting, Islamic decoration and scientific advances in physics and astronomy. In the words of Anne Ellegood, her sculptures are like the “silent catastrophes” of Robert Smithson, moments of disaster and decline frozen in time and space. Her enormous and tremendously elaborate sculptural constructions become what the artist herself calls “impossible architectures”.

Diana Al-Hadid’s journey begins in Brooklyn, where she lives and works, and extends via Madrid, Murcia and Mallorca. It is a journey in which this Syrian-born artist seeks the Islamic roots of what was once Mursiya. Her visits to the Museo de Santa Clara, a former Hudi palace and an excellent example of the period of transition between Almohad and Nasrid art, and to Murcia cathedral, consecrated in 1467, are essential references underlying the conception of this show.

Al-Hadid’s journey focused not only on discovering a city containing traces of its Islamic past but also echoes of an earlier life; works from the past began to resonate in her memory, becoming postcards from previous journeys of references that she saw everywhere, curiously, during her visit to Murcia.

The exhibition comprises five large-scale sculptures dating from between 2006 and 2010 and a sixth created for this show following her Spanish odyssey just this year.

La Conservera
Contemporary Art Center
Avenida de Lorquí, s/n.
30562, Ceutí (Murcia).
T (+34) 868923132
[email protected]

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