About women artists
La Escena - Santiago Martinez
October, 2019

From the plurality of approaches, techniques and styles, the exhibition "About women artists" can be visited in the Official Association of Architects of Asturias during the month of October. It offers a selection of works by some of the most representative creators in the plastic and visual arts of the current artistic scene.
The exhibition has been promoted by AFA, Feminist Association of Asturias "Clara Campoamor", and is part of the project "Against the canon", started three years ago with the individual exhibitions of Chelo Sanjurjo and Mabel Lavandera; soon, it will also have a retrospective dedicated to María Álvarez. Three creators who, along with 22 other artists, are part of this collective inaugurated during the White Night in Oviedo, last October 5, and in which Susana Villanueva, presented "Con los pies en la tierra", a performance based on texts by Teresa Díaz Chicote. In the exhibition hall, until its closure, "the remains of the action" have remained.
"About women artists" provides a fairly faithful vision of plastic creation in our closest environment. In order to achieve this, three Asturian galleries have collaborated in favouring the presence of women artists who usually work in their spaces. These are the Gema Llamazares gallery in Gijón and the Arancha Osoro and Guillermina Caicoya galleries in Oviedo. The work of patronage that Natalia García Villanueva, since its establishment El Ovetense, has given to this project, is an example of commitment to the plastic and visual arts. The project is the result of the collaboration of different entities and people -especially the artists, obviously- who, adding quality and illusion, bet on the contemporary plastic creation, favouring that the artistic dynamics in our region improves and, in this occasion, continues allowing the best visibility of the art made by women.
The exhibition begins with the illustration that Monica De Juan, artist and cultural manager, has made for the cover of the book of the same title, and which has also served as the image of this collective exhibition. From her sensitivity and know-how, she brings a piece that stands out for its character and singular beauty. From there, the selected works show different worlds of plastic creation which, in the field of photography, is represented by "Chamana II", a work by Soledad Córdoba, belonging to "Trilogía del alma", her most recent and reflective series in which she delves into essential aspects of existence. "Funámbulas", is a photograph by Natalia Pastor that belongs to the series Dérmicos and that, from a very personal vindicative perspective, proposes an encounter, plastic and visual, between the physical landscape and the psychological landscape, product of mixed feelings of rooting and uprooting.
In the sculptural field, the work of María Jesús Rodríguez, sensitivity and harshness coexist, the fragile and the wild converge in a language loaded with ethnographic and geological references that connect with her own existence. Very different in concept, shape and finish is the piece in lacquered wood and digital printing by María Braña, its rigour and neatness show a rational approach that talks about how plastic creation is compatible with meticulousness and technology. The sculpture "Echo versus Narcissus" by Esperanza D'Ors, is a piece loaded with symbolic connotations, a re-reading of the classic myths related to the discourse of this exhibition.
The graphic work is present in "Calaveras", Valle Baranda's work, which contains the emotional charge necessary to underline the professional rigour of its creator, but also, its very personal iconography and its multiple resources. As in "220 clouds over my head" by María Álvarez, the self-referential component is clear and, in some way, empathizes with the viewer allowing us to be participants in these works. In an intermediate space between graphic work and oil painting is "Lecho", a poetic proposal by Marta Fermín, whose involvement in the dissemination of the plastic arts is admirable, as is her investigation into the infinite possibilities offered by the medium as a matrix or as an expressive language in its pure state, reminding us how the work of art comforts, welcomes and nourishes.
Teresa Patiño is committed to a textile tradition that she knows and masters to perfection. She explains how an embroidery with cotton thread has, as a plastic resource, infinite expressive possibilities that are enhanced by an apparent simplicity.
The worlds of painting are today as diverse, formally, conceptually and technically, as are the stylistic variations of the creators present in this show. "Westville" is the title of Monica Dixon's acrylic, faithful to a language that knows how to balance realistic and dreamy detail, investigating the multiple variations of light and space as the protagonist. Also the pictorial sensitivity of Klàra Konkoly-Thege, one can guess "In the garden", a song to the freedom of the gesture and the stain connected with a graphism of oriental root and to a natural and fertile landscape. "Garden with a footprint" is the visual poetics offered by Reyes Díaz, an artist capable of transforming the apparent simplicity of the place into a unique experience, memories and desires have been captured forever in his work. Mabel Lavandera with "Los lavaderos de fluorita" shows her concern for the environment through a rigour in drawing and an alchemy in technique that the artist knows how to balance with the value of the imperfect, of the unfinished. Therein lies her attraction, but above all, her coherence.
In "Le Pont Neuf" by Chechu Álava, we notice her unmistakable evanescent and ambiguous way, showing how in life, next to the apparent solidity of things, we see the fragility of human beings. We notice a similar subtlety in the work of Jezabel Rodríguez, involving and moving us through the timeless stillness that emerges from her work. In "La casa blanca" Breza Cecchini maintains the stylistic coherence that has characterized her, with an expressive graphic design and a very personal chromatic range that continue to confirm her deep conviction that art is one of the best handles for survival.
The formal and conceptual speculations of some of these artists have led them to experiment with the pictorial material and its supports, giving a new meaning or a new orientation to their proposals. The work of art is not a field defined by borders, it is not a formula or a recipe. In this way, "Blackwater river" by Carmen González deepens in the expressive, visual and tactile possibilities of gesture and colour, the dynamic character of the process of gestation of the work is shown here in a continuum of fluid energy that is a reflection of nature itself. In "Construcciones mentales" by Maite Centol, a reflection is made on geometric form and its expressive possibilities, without forgetting the value of the raw material that configures it: pencils, graphite and acrylic on canvas, wood and frame. For her part, Elena Rato investigates in "Abject Plans and the Ephemeral" the holistic conjunction of forms, disparate plastic languages that, instead of fighting on the surface of the canvas, harmoniously coexist.

Consuelo Vallina is currently experimenting with new ways of creation, her most recent work is the series "Fiore di Barena", inks that allow her to analyze the expressive possibilities of stain, gesture and color. At the same time, Chelo Sanjurjo knows how to extract infinite variations from gouache and paper and, without renouncing her style and a theme that she has made her mark, she continues in new creative areas, with new formats and new emotions.
The presence of one of Kely's latest works in this exhibition, an essential artist in our plastic culture, confirms how art leaves its mark on life and on us, overcoming time and its ravages. It is possible that, if we continue to support and document the work of today's creators, we will be contributing to the construction of a more authentic and truthful plastic reality, we will possess a more just art, and also, a more just society.

"About women artists"
College of Architects. 3 Marqués de Gastañaga Street, Oviedo
Until October 25, 2019
Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Santiago Martínez is a professor of Art History