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An insight into the work of Cielo Donís

Monday, 26 May 2014 21:58 Written by Sara Gabriela Baz S.

Cielo Donís creates works that lend meaning to matter: following a long tradition of protests and bold abstraction in which art ceased to express tangible aspects, her work returns to carnality and recovers aesthetic codes. However, she does not delve pointlessly into the past, as her approach to painting prefers to construct apparent realities, even dreamlike atmospheres rather than veristic representations in the manner of the 1990s Latin American figurative artists.

Donís restores weight to bodies and texture to skins, and her figures reveal an inside and an outside, the corporal heaviness of corpses. Like all humans, bodies entail the possibility of experiencing transcendence by escaping the inherent physicality that binds them to the earth.

Donís’s work features numerous corporal marks, whether openings, wounds, ruptures or scars. Her images depict the concept of recovering from the blows that life gives the soul. Her pieces are filled with the idea of fallibility, of the fall, but also with recovery and restitution. Her work is at the center of a new figuration, and though it has no Neorealist intentions it is a careful, painstaking representation of dreamlike atmospheres. Closely linked to the formal and technical style of Arturo Rivera, for example, Donís explores the creation and application of pigments following the techniques developed over centuries by ancient masters. She also overlays glazes to create textures that invite viewers to touch them. The heaviness of the matter, its expressions, perspective and the mastery of perspective and trompe l’oeil recall the drawing skills of the ancient Renaissance and Baroque painters. Sad Wounds, for example, finely depicts the subject's expression and constructs the atmosphere of his neglect, evoking the abandoned figures of Pedro de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

The struggle against the ephemeral, fragile quality of the body is given vigor, force and density by the skillful depiction of the matter of the characters, the agonists. Donís’s work constantly evokes a fighting spirit in the face of difficulty and adversity. Some of her images associate her with the tradition established by the Mexican School of Painting. The perspective of the women lying on the ground in Love Hurts, for example, reminds the viewer of the heavily foreshortened depiction of bodies that Orozco and Siquieros developed in their murals. Some of the composition qualities belie the unspoken influence of the artists who created the aesthetic culture of modern Mexico.

At times, Donís recreates the atmosphere of a long sordid dream, a long nightmare, or a deep calm stupor. Her landscapes recreate impossible, worrying atmospheres, yet a female vision of tenderness and strength always remains . Contemporary art can make a contribution on many levels, such as recovering codes to enable non-trained persons to appreciate this painting. Indeed Donís’s painting reaches audiences formerly alienated from art because of the excessive conceptualism and theory it involves. Another level is the representation of dreamlike images outside the overused techniques of surrealism and its subsequent echoes. A third is her treatment of her character’s personality: they are strong, dying, in the original sense of the word, women and children who stand firm against their destiny. In this way, Donís attracts new viewers seeking accessible and universal stories in painting, wishing to gaze at the folds of skin, the fine warm texture of sand or the earth’s damp embrace of a corpse. These paintings revisit the valiant attempts to understand why humans perceive their fallibility as a paradox: in response to our imminent fall we should fight desperately to remain in a heroic, sometimes intimate eternity.

Read 2273 times Last modified on Monday, 26 May 2014 22:02