Crazy Nöel
1987 -
Oil, pigment and vinyl on canvas
Dimensions: 200 x 305 cm
Reference: ACF0432
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Done shortly after he settled in New York, Crazy Nöel is a transitional work which marks a separation between 1960 and the series ‘Los últimos sueños del capitán Nemo’. It is a transition from the expressive and atmospheric to the analytical and conceptual. Uslé had painted 1960 in Susilla, Spain; it contains an image of a boat that has run aground on a rock. The image was maintained for several months in paintings that were still material based. Indeed, Crazy Nöel no longer looks abstract if we relate it to some of the pictures that precede it; it then becomes a kind of stormy seascape at the centre of which floats a small fragile blue rectangle. In this painting, as in other works from the same period, liquid, evanescent areas make their appearance. Indeed, a layer of translucent white paint covers the upper part of the picture vertically, which makes it appear as if we were looking at it through a misted pane of glass. The image is framed by a kind of pastose edge, which focuses interest in the centre. The small central rectangle is like something floating adrift, a more dramatic version of 1960 or Casita del Norte, another similar picture in which the central image seems to be well fixed. Uslé regards it as a visualisation of his own activity in a new studio, surrounded by the immensity of the city where he has just come to live in the middle of a freezing cold winter. In Cantabria he painted a boat motionless on the rocks—the impossibility of mobility—and now, in New York, he paints something fragile adrift, making an autobiographical comment from an abstract image.

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