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Posts Tagged ‘Maria Palacios’

15OctRedBlackYellHoriz
It’s something. But what!
I can explain why you would want to figure out what this represents: 1) there are definite shapes, 2) they’re clearly delineated, 3) they’re centrally placed and 4) there’s even an illusion of a horizon. So, of course, your smart, verbal brain gets to work on this puzzle. As soon as you’ve decided that the yellow square represents a structure, a building, say, you can move to the dip on its right and decide that here you have a valley and then you keep moving to the right and you can see an extended city block and, oh dear, this is not working. It’s just not coherent as a landscape at all. Even if you stick to the landscape-cityscape interpretation, what’s underneath the horizontal black mass just doesn’t compute. I mean, what’s that lavender roundish thing and that blue triangle there and then that blue smudge? Your brain now goes into overdrive and crashes. Wonderful! You’re having an aesthetic experience. You have entered the state of pure seeing. Congratulations.
It’s not easy to make art like this. Takes tremendous concentration.
Painting by Maria Palacios. Acrylic on canvas, 30”x 40”
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15AprilProgression
We’ve seen a “stripe painting” by this artist before. https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/stripes/
Stripe is a “fast” word, it summarizes and generalizes.
Now close your eyes and recall what it was like to look at this painting. My guess is that you don’t remember “stripes” at all, but the surprise you felt at the nuances of colors and the subtleties in the transitions from one to another.
Stripes are used in flags and sports uniforms. Why? Because stripes are bold, clear, high contrast and easy to recognize and remember. Your reaction to flag stripes and sport stripes is instantaneous. But while Maria Palacios’ painting can generally be categorized under “stripes,” your reaction to it is far from instantaneous. It invites you to linger and find delight in how it teases you out of your ho-hum expectations. When that happens, you’re not saluting and you’re not clear and bold about anything. You’re having an aesthetic experience. Aren’t we lucky!
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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WhiteGreekKey

There are more of them on the left and you know there are more on the right. We just happen to glimpse these as they file by. I call them rectangles, but they may just as well be thoughts. They are as random, inexplicable and yet engaging as thoughts that pop into our minds. As blunt, rude, beguiling, mysterious. Just there. Now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t. And they overlap in a gauzy haze. One thing leads to another. Well, forget this chatter. It’s just what comes to mind.
The whole class stood around and looked. The painting is stunning. That’s the highest compliment. It says, stop the chatter and look.

Painting by Maria Palacios, acrylic on canvas, ~30″x 40″
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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ThisIsNotABrush
It looks hap-hazard, doesn’t it, at first glance. There’s a frame within a frame within what might be another frame and things get a bit uncertain there, not at all like what you expect from a frame. The job of a frame is to separate the illusion created by the artwork from the banal, certain reality of the wall. But this frame is not only blurry but it seems to be sliding off into the lower left. Or is it emerging from the lower left? So you ponder this. Then you notice a small white rectangle in the upper left and, oh, another one in the lower right. Now your eye goes back and forth between the two, crossing the painting diagonally. There’s another white rectangle attached to the “frame” in the middle, a bigger one, and you pause there as you go diagonally upper-left-lower-right. Then there’s that brush. This may actually have been the first thing you noticed in the whole painting. What happened there? What’s it doing there? Did the artist drop it accidentally? Well, no, that wouldn’t be accidental, because she had taken one of her brushes and painted one side blue. Then what. She must have deliberately placed it on her canvas painted side down. This is indeed what she did, quite deliberately, carefully and quickly, on the spur of the moment and as the last act in making this work of art. It’s witty and it’s profound. The imprint of the brush brings the “frame issue” even more into focus. Ha, what focus? This painting has us coming and going on this question of what’s illusion, what’s reality. And that’s a  good thing.
Painting by Maria Palacios. Oil on canvas, 24×30.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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Nov2014
Yes, it’s all rectangles and squares. What an interesting challenge! Wherever you look, it’s all 90° and you think this should look stable and fixed. Not so. It’s all motion and speed. How do you make a painting consisting of right angles so lively?! Try to look away. Gotcha!

Our visual apparatus evolved to detect motion. Frogs can only see what moves. If you don’t want to be associated with frogs in your family tree, try to remember what it’s like to sit in a train while reading. It’s hard, because your eyes are attracted to the blur and motion at the window. Maybe a painting that simulates the effect of motion holds our attention for the same reason. But this painting does not illustrate motion.
Let’s look at an illustration of motion.

HorsesBeachHere we have a specific instance, a narrative of motion. Horses and riders on a beach can evoke the memory of a beach, the smell of the ocean, the energy of young men and the power of horses. Notice that all these are specific memories and as such they’re limited and limiting.
In the painting,  our experience is deeper. Without a narrative as a hook and employing a most restrained composition, it moves us to introspect on how perception itself works.  We have to ask how this is possible.  And that’s endlessly fascinating.
Painting by Maria Palacios, 30×40. Oil on canvas.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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14Subway
What about that deep red disc in the upper right? Would the painting be better without? Should it go? Should it be in another part of the painting? Does it need a companion, another disc somewhere, at least one? These are the questions that came up as the rest of the class looked at Maria Palacios’ painting. One person said, “It’s disturbing.” And so it is. Your eye keeps moving up there to the right, wondering, what’s that doing there. You can’t quite answer the question, but you know, that without the disks (see it photoshopped out, below), the painting might slide into the decorative category.

14SubwayNoDiskWithout the disc the painting still holds my attention, with its rhythms and progressions. What’s foreground, what’s background? What’s moving, what feels stable?  Fascinating. The painting came about after the artist had made a personal study of Hans Hofmann, the German-American abstract expressionist, 1880-1966. 

Yes, the disc is disturbing, and that’s good. Makes you think. I don’t think it needs a companion because another disk would merely add balance. It could be in another corner, but anywhere else, it would lack weight, would be tame.  Keep it there, in the upper right, where it puzzles and provokes you.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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14MariaRedBlueSquaresThis is quite an accomplishment, isn’t it.  You’re looking at rectilinear forms, four rectangles and two squares. From the verbal description, you’d expect a static image.  But it’s far from static.  You can’t help seeing these blue things moving. And what about the vertical divide, is that in the middle?

The suggestion of movement in the composition comes, to a great extent, from the little blue rectangle in the lower left corner.  It appears to be a fragment of the kind of square we see clearly stated on the right side of the painting.  The fact that there are two identical blue squares sets up an expectation in our minds that what we’re seeing in the lower left is one of that kind.  It’s uncanny, how powerful that little blue rectangle is. I would say, it makes the painting.  It sets everything in motion.

The other blue rectangle is that long thing in the middle.  It’s in the middle, right?  Wait, we can’t be sure, looks like the middle, but maybe not.  The large red rectangle appears to be just a smidge narrower than its light counterpart on the right, because a saturated color area will look smaller than a light area.  But, at the same time, red is a dominant color.  The illusoriness of the red half and the question of the mid-line are rubbed in our faces by this blue thin rectangle in the middle. Where’s-the-middle becomes an issue.  What’s static, what moves?

This painting by Maria Palacios appears to be simple, but is anything but.  Look at it.  It won’t let you go.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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