Spanish Artist Sola: Neo-Constructivist 
Experiments in the Climate of Postmodernism

Chzysalis V, Paintings 39 x 55

   A professor of sculpture at the Art School in Seville, the Spanish artist Sola incorporates three-dimensional elements in her paintings that lend them a uniquely dynamic effect.
    Especially striking in this regard is the collage and mixed media composition that Sola calls “Connection V,” in which jaggedly elongated red shapes suggest stylized lightning bolts, as they protrude from the edges of the canvas. Given the formal stasis of the rest of the composition –– a large black half circle at the top of the canvas, with various semitriangular  blue shapes below it, set against an off-white ground speckled with pale tints of subtly modulated color –– the total effect is like a Roy Lichtenstein comic strip explosion ignited within a Russian Neo-Constructivist painting.
    Indeed, Sola invariably employs a strong formal armature as a launching pad for her imaginative flights of metaphysical fancy. Thus. as formal in design and austere in execution as it is, her work is also poetically allusive, as seen in the aptly named “Revelations I,” in which a semicircular black form appears to deconstruct on the left side of the composition, shedding sharp shards afloat against a vibrant blue background. The perfectly square format of the wood panel on which it is painted suggests limitless dimensions, as though one is witnessing  some profound event in outer space.
    Although  the title of the exhibition, “Elemental Realms,” adds to the sense of unusual phenomena taking place before one’s eyes, Sola speaks of her artistic mission in more down to earth terms. Or at least in terms of the global revolution brought about by the development of cyberspace:

    “Each piece of work has its own individual value,” she states. “However, they do make more sense as a whole series that displays the process of transformation. The transformation of the world due to new technology and communication amongst human beings, the social networks and  the internet. These things are causing so many changes, that they are actually changing our world. Thus, I express this evolution and all of these changes in my new work. I use abstract language; the world is represented by a circle in the paintings at the beginning of the series. In the following paintings, this slowly transforms into an elongated pointed oval shape, similar to a chrysalis. The interconnected lines within the chrysalis represent communication. They evolve into lines breaking into terrible tears, expressed by vivid colors. At the end of the series a new order appears. There is a rebirth of a new, perhaps more harmonious, world. This series is called "Chrysalis," a metaphor for a changing world; the world is likened to a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly.”
    Sola has obviously evolved a unique formal vocabulary with which to symbolize such metamorphosis. In the first composition of the series, “Chrysalis I,” the elongated sharp edged oval form of which she spoke, its pointed tip rising above the top of the wood panel, is sharply defined in areas of black and red. It appears to have a diamond-like solidity. In "Chrysalis III" the same elongated shape appears to be almost submerged in a red fluid-like background, perhaps to express the emergence of technology from earlier more mysterious belief systems. But we witness its dispersal in "Chrysalis V,” where the sharp-edged shards of the disassembled shape scatter like fiery stars over predominantly blue geometric areas of color within what appears to be a vast cosmic expanse.
    Sola's paintings are electrically alive with the excitement of exploring a new global frontier.

–– Byron Coleman

Sola, Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, February 7–27, 2014

View press release and exhibition information

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