Rafael Canogar
Spain, 1935
The career of Rafael Canogar (Toledo, 1935) offers an exceptional account of the directions, developments and achievements of Spanish painting over the course of almost sixty years. Along with other artists, he founded the El Paso group in 1957 and soon became one of the foremost representatives of its material-oriented approach, which had its origins in Art Informel and eventually gained great renown within the context of European art. Deeply influenced by American action painting, the work he created during the fifties exhibits an immediate, nervous and, to a certain extent, abrupt gestural quality. This is clearly expressed in works like Untitled (1957) where the artist scratched the thick surface of the canvas with his fingers. This intuitive impulse, which seems to transform the act of painting into a form of sculptural choreography, would eventually lead Canogar to working in three dimensions and, by the sixties, towards a dramatic, strongly expressionistic, figurative style. By the seventies, his work returned to the abstract language with which he had begun. However, colour became singularly important during this new period, which is also characterised by the emergence of a certain architectural or structural sense in the way the colour is arranged within the pictorial space.
Valentín Roma