Menina IV
Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 220 x 200 cm
Reference: ACF0138
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Soledad Sevilla's painting has evolved fruitfully at the crossroads of a geometrical and normative perspective with an essentially emotional vein, sensitive to concerns about perception. The varying proportions of the two tendencies have determined the character of each stage, each series and even each installation, intimately linked to painting. The work done in the seventies shows a process concerned with the rigour of geometry and its experimental possibilities for the deployment and generation of forms and structures. Her participation in the seminar "Generación automática de formas plásticas" (Automatic generation of art forms) at the Centro de Cálculo at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid between 1969 and 1971 enabled her to delve deeper into geometrical and mathematical rigour, but at the same time showed her the need to find another, more emotional rigour for her painting, which would be capable of constructing space but also of being aware of its interpretation. The series "Las Meninas", done between 1981 and 1983, is her first attempt to integrate analytical rigour and emotional rigour. As her starting point she takes the painting of the same name by Velázquez, perhaps because it is a work in which space, atmosphere, light, colour and time are radically interwoven, generating an abstract analysis mechanism which is extremely intense in terms of perception and representation, parallel to the scene. Velázquez' painting has been alluded to on countless occasions over the last two centuries, but Sevilla retrieves the deep structure of that abstract analysis mechanism for her reflection, dispensing with any reference to the scene. The space is reconstructed by means of a modulation of planes, which at times are cut and divided by lines, whilst on other occasions they interpenetrate gently through colour. The superimposition of webs of regular lines determines the planes and defines the colour. The shadows and penumbras take on a vibration of atmospheric depth on which the space rests; the contrasts of light are marked out from the colour. In chromatic ranges which are far removed from naturalism a reverberation of both light and space is constructed, uncovering the path of poetic evocation behind the formal rigour, which will be seen strikingly in her later series devoted to the Alhambra. Velázquez' complex web is reinterpreted from the conditions and interests that Sevilla had been developing over the previous decade, and she uses it to overcome any temptation to formal rigidity which might spring from the strictly analytical, geometrical or mathematical. Meninas IX, dated 1982, is at the heart of the series and sums up all its concerns. Begun in Boston, where Sevilla lived from 1980 to 1982, it has only two planes of colour, related by diagonal cuts of white lines at the ends, whilst at the vertex the encounter seeks a blending of the patterns of lines and colour. The diagonal condenses a precise interpretation of Velázquez and of Las Meninas. It was the diagonal that was to be decisive in Sevilla's work, and not only in her painting; also in her most complex installations, in which real space is cut by a diagonal net, incorporating a characteristic contained instability which is very Baroque in tone.

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