Where his look rests

The idea of space in the Osvaldo González’ work

/ 1 September, 2016

Last May Servando Gallery in Havana opened a painting exhibition by artist Osvaldo González, with the title Autofagia (Autophagy). Composed by a set of eight works made in oil on canvas, with different formats, the exhibition discoursed on one of the fundamental range of topics of his work: the space and the objects associated to it. In comparison with the former series of the artist, this one undoubtedly results much more sober and contained, while revealing the transit towards a higher stage of maturity. As the result of ten years working on painting, the artist has made a sort of pause to assimilate everything he had learned and feedback with his own work: therefore its title.

In my opinion, to understand the present work by Osvaldo González it is necessary to remember his installations, which he has developed together with painting since his graduation from the Higher Institute of Arts in 2006. It is with installations that his interest and experimentation with the space and the object starts, based on the relations he begins to establish with them in his routine. They become the point of departure to create a new reality that, in this case, requires a process with some meticulous and artisanal elaboration due to the use of materials as cardboard, tape and lights. The result does not reproduce the environment, but poetically recreates it.

(…) This obsession to get the best of spaces and objects with which he interacts turns into a field of experimentation which results totally feasible for his pictorial work. The inner scenes which at the beginning were extracted from magazines are the pretext to fragment, recompose, experiment with the composition, the color, the light. A half-open door allows noticing the area behind. A particular perspective sends us to an image that is closer to visual memory than to reality. The surface of the painting is covered by every detail. Osvaldo is interested in making good use of objects, as well as creating effects from the construction of the piece, conferring some theatricality to the scene.

But, indeed, Autofagia (Autophagy) talks to us of an evolution in his painting. The idea of space has begun to synthesize and  gain autonomy stripping of everything accessory. If in another moment the interiors alluded to more open and recognizable areas, in this case they come with a higher level of fragmentation at the same time more succinct, and they result essentially geometrical, as if it were just a detail. In an inquiring level, this allows Osvaldo to enter into one of the topics captivating him the most: the nature of abstract painting.

In this series space displays a self-referential character and acquires the category of place. It is not a common abode; it is its domestic environment and the workshop of the artist friends with which he daily interacts. The interiors he has incorporated in his unconscious are those with which he has established an affective link. Those are the resorts conditioning the appearance of the fragments that are unknown for us, since they have passed by the prism of interpretation. The artist does not reproduce them, he interprets them; he lives and perceives them once and again until it is a specific setting, a detail, a view he returns to us. (…)

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