Anton Lamazares

Sala Gaspar

A distinct characteristic of Spanish art is its heterogeneous nature, making it difficult to tie down to one specific cultural discourse. In recent years, the vitality of some well-defined nuclei amid this multiple ferment has become evident, and Anton Lamazares, native of that hyperbolic, mysterious land of Galicia, is an outstanding example of the poetic richness that has burst out among Galician artists. Born in 1954, Lamazares creates work that is synthesizing and reductive, cruel and tender at the same time, and free of all erudite camouflage.

The works shown here, which are large in scale, communicate a certain ambiguity of intent, as the supports seem to be given an importance that is equal to the images and colors used. These supports are made of thick wooden window frames on which boards are nailed and on which corrugated cardboard is applied in a predominantly orthogonal manner, giving them a definite sculptural aspect, like reliefs. The spare colors have been chosen for contrast, heightening the structure of juxtapositions and divisions, while a thick coat of varnish covers everything, smoothing over all distinctions with its gloss.

Although Lamazares often incorporates large central images in his compositions, they tend to lose their importance as they are displaced through the sheer scale and physicality of the materials employed. The motifs are treated in a diffuse, contourless manner, more with color than with line, and are extremely flattened. This is a fiercely antiacademic and organic iconography, in which anthropomorphism permeates every objective detail and the insignificant is treated on a sacral level, which brings to mind Joan Miró or those omnipresent magic signs and symbols respected for millennia in Celtic Spain. All of Lamazares’ imagery evokes a restrained eroticism; an ironicized death appears often, as well as references to the myth of Taurus. Something as inorganic as two figures “separated” by a telephone wire in a large painting acquires a feeling of incitement and desire.

Lamazares seems to arrive at his images through an automatic process of crude gestures. His, however, is an imagistic rather than a verbal automatism, for, considering Lamazares’ extensive literary background, it is unlikely that he would resort to a facile illustration of an arbitrary set of associations. His judicious economy of expression and the unity among the elements of his work reveal an orientation that is the result of a focused talent, and that, although centered in the existential, never stops being affirmative. Lamazares seems to go beyond the aggressive, cynical gestures singled out by criticism in the last ten years. It is as if he knew that the “professionalized” artist whose work derives from an art-historical ideology is as obsolete as the court painter. Perhaps because of this, he has an attitude of maximum respect toward the common individual, and consequently he lives with zeal the poetic experience of his work and is thus nourished by the visual memory of emotions that recompense him without fail. In a difficult configuration of desires and anxieties, matter, spirit, mind, and feelings are inseparable in the timeless realm of Lamazares’ work.

Gloria Moure

Translated from the Spanish by Hanna Hannah.