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Marta Guisande
New Paintings

From 4 April to 21 June 2008, Galerie m Bochum features an exhibition of New Paintings by Marta Guisande
(born in 1965 in Seville, lives and works in Cologne).


Behind the seemingly monochrome surfaces of Guisande’s pictures, the discerning eye can detect a complex texture of color and structure. Layer after layer, she gradually works up her image without knowing where it will lead her. On a quest for the kind of coherence and matter-of-factness found in natural phenomena, she develops her works incrementally. This intuitive painting method means that the end result always remains open. During the process, which can take weeks or months, the substance builds up on the canvases and surprising twists and facets emerge, evolving a visual rhythm – within a single work or between the various elements in multi-part works. In the context of the exhibition, the works on display also enter into a dialogue with one another, creating an extraordinarily atmospheric effect.

Guisande allows herself to be guided by the medium of painting itself instead of forcing upon it specific motifs or a particular artistic style. This reining in of her own ego, which corresponds to a search for inner rightness and authenticity, is mirrored in the calm serenity and sensitive balance that pervades the works.

The pictorial structure comes about through repeated application and reduction of layers of paint. The artist wipes, scratches, and slaps on color over broad areas – one searches in vain here for a gestural brushstroke. Through the constant process of applying paint and then uncovering it again, Guisande generates a dull, open-pored surface that seems to breathe and let the pigments glow from within its depths.

Symmetries and schemata, such as those found in checkerboard patterns and horizontal lines, undergo subtle variations during this procedure. Graphic traces atop plant-like branchings or cloud shapes can be read as abstract forms but at the same time lend the work a further, poetic, level of meaning.

The dominance of gray fits in well with the deliberate lack of motif. Gray is neutral and yet flexible. Next to this “non-color,” the other colors, such as red, green or orange, that Guisande brings into her painting in measured doses take on a whole new luminosity and are perceived all the more keenly – without however disrupting the delicate balance of the works.