Curated by Lucinda Barnes
Following the death of General Francisco Franco on November 20, 1975, Spain witnessed dramatic and extensive transformations in its political, economic, social, and cultural life. Following nearly half a century of iron-fisted and quixotic dictatorial rule, preceded by more than a century of debilitating internal strife, in the late 1970s Spain stridently repositioned itself within the framework of western civilization. A slowly simmering dream of revision erupted and became a palpable reality. After forty years of isolation, young Spanish artists are now not only part and parcel of the rich tapestry of Spain, they are also – in an atmosphere of pluralism – partakers of modes and themes that derive from British Pop Art, European expressionism, lyrical American abstraction, and broad-based conceptualism.
Although their attitudes range from conceptual biases to stances delicately balanced between abstraction and figuration, two overriding characteristics bridge their efforts, which are – for want of a more profound definition – essentially poetic. Theirs also is a subjective reality, manifest in meditations upon our state of being and of art. Their work is – even when seemingly abstract – referential, and gives up its larger meanings slowly, through repetition, reflection, and serial examination. Their art – although it partakes of international Modernism – is indisputably Spanish and they seem to be the inheritors of a long tradition that encompasses an earthy, tactile romanticism, which derives from a special empathy with Iberian light, landscape, and ornamentation. Among these eight artists, similar concerns are expressed through disparate means.
- Excerpt from catalogue essay by Lucinda Barnes, 1990