Cantes de siembra (Sowing songs)
Wednesday February 20 - Wednesday March 13, 2013
Elena Lamm's Hall, Tarkovsky Room & Academic Corridor
Virginia Chévez displays a daring and irreverent brush stroke that achieves a perfect balance between the areas of thick paint and subtle transparencies, creating atmospheres weighted with mysticism, as if there was an imaginary veil between the spectator’s gaze and a distant horizon hidden behind the numerous pictorial layers. Her painting is at the same time reflective and sensual, tranquil and provoking, a trigger for sadness and pleasure, interlocked as in the ancient Japanese literary genre, renga, from which the haiku is derived, with its underlying poetical mysticism, present in the essence of the paintings in this collection.
In her recent work, Chévez is inspired by Matsuo Basho’s (Ueno, Japan, 1644) poetic work entitled Narrow Road to the Interior. Following the poet, who elevated the haiku to the highest levels of sophistication, she endeavors to make the most important part of her work not the external form, but internal spirituality. Her painting is precisely all about this search for spirituality, which gives it a mystical feeling that brings it close to the boundaries of the sublime. The philosophy of Mark Rothko comes to mind, for whom art was “the expression of some deeply hidden religious impulse”, giving way to the aesthetic experience with an aesthetic-reflective gaze, which Mircea Eliade described as “the permanence of the sacred in contemporary art”. For Chévez, her art is born out of her existential curiosity, which is inspired by oriental philosophy and poetry, particularly Zen Buddhism; hence her desire to express forms of mystical reflection which communicate the basic emotions of existence. In front of her works we are absorbed in a space that grows bigger and bigger while we try to figure out the secret of her paintings and decipher the language of her agile, relaxed brush strokes. Virginia Chévez’s work flows in the language of ambiguity: with grace and spontaneity it swings from density to sheerness, lightness to seriousness, from explosion to control… Chance and precision alternate in her works like the notes of jazz improvisation. Hers is a style full of melody and zeal.
In contemplating these beautiful and evocative canvases I am reminded of the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi, who wrote: “Don't listen with your ears, but listen with your spirit/. Don't listen with your spirit, but with your breath/.Only breath is empty and waits on all things.”
Germaine Gómez Haro
General Director, Casa Lamm Cultural Center