An Abstract Artist’s Itinerary

Julia Valdés’ Poetics

/ 1 December, 2018

Julia Valdés was born in Santiago de Cuba on February 26, 1952. Her father (…) was a renowned sculptor and director of the Plastic Arts School of that city (…). Therefore, it is logical to suppose that this family environment, surrounded by her father’s sculptures and workshop instruments, had an influence on her decision to become an artist, which is why from an early age she was interested in painting and playing with the materials she used. In her beginnings, her works were sort of landscapes where a geometry of her native city’s forms predominated. Hence the subject par excellence in her work (…) was the city and its popular traditions, stories, legends and natural splendors. A painting that attempted to show the wealth of Santiago de Cuba and at the same time her aesthetic searches on abstract language.

Julia Valdés’ poetics reveals a will for synthesis for which she refines any element, although an allusion to her identity and her work’s roots is always present. In her fist series a link of visible tension between abstraction and real landscape is perceptible, as a reflection of her aesthetic searches, of her interests as an artist. (…) With time the landscapes started changing and they were mainly a suggestion of the elements that comprised them. The city stopped being visible and abstraction was the center of her searches. Her transformation was slow and subtle, like a daughter of her land, where other elements appear like masks, doors, locks, etc.

In her pieces there is a command of the graphic element, always instinctive, with a broad and fluid stroke that gives the compositions gestural freedom and spontaneity. This changed with time and although she has not abandoned drawing, since the line still reigns, on occasions broken, concealed in layers of paint, covered with mattered elements or masked in the middle of a spring of pigments.

The artist creates her own reality: they are pictorial landscapes in which there is a contrast between the empty spaces, where silence and calm become protagonists, and the configurations where we find concave and convex elements, protuberances and depressions without an apparent order or a determined structure. That is to say, the chance-order and freedom-control pairs govern her entire poetics.

(…) Julia is a painter of planes, of textures, of transparencies and of veilings, with aggressive cuts, lights and shadows, an artist who adds to her works fabrics, appliques and countless elements that are an invitation to reflect on her affinities with Catalonian Antoni Tàpies and with her teacher Antonio Vidal. She is a personal painter who reflects the interior of the artist, her roots, her work as a protecting mother and her role as a woman in the contemporary context.

At the start of the new century, Julia Valdés lived an experience that has marked her poetics as an artist (…). From then on her abstraction reflects a feminine character that is visible in the colors she chooses, in her trade as a knitter, in the relaxed movement of her brushstrokes. A sort of suggested eroticism, evocative of several sentiments. (…) Her work becomes a story, a story of her personal life. (…)

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