Patricio Cabrera

Galeria La Maquina Espanola

The recent paintings of Patricio Cabrera depict a landscape whose horizon is lost in the distance. They are imaginary landscapes despite the references to nature. His paintings of 1985 and 1986, in which the perspectives seem populated by objects such as bare tree trunks, columns, and garlands, emphasize the multiplicity of elements that converge in the artist’s mind to form the memory of a southern land, full of color, rituals, and traditions. Two years ago, his language was becoming more abstract, and the surfaces flatter; he began placing a special emphasis on the elements of construction, the relationship of colors, and showed a certain inclination toward ornamentation.

The work in this exhibition (all from 1989) takes up the landscape again, but renders it more distant and anonymous. Nature acquires general connotations, and is submitted to a process of internal abstraction that removes it from any reference to concrete reality. It doesn’t matter that mountains or other kinds of panoramas can clearly be detected. Cabrera tends to superimpose one image over the other; in the foreground, in front of the landscapes, there sometimes appear some marks, as if a slightly foggy pane of glass were obscuring our vision, intervening between the painting and the viewer. Those illusionistic aspects are not new to Cabrera’s work, just as the rope and ribbon motifs are not. There exists, nevertheless, in a large part of the current work, an emphasis on surrounding, on framing, from within those landscapes, perhaps in an attempt to forewarn us of the traps of perception and of the convention of undertaking more complex readings beyond those at first impression.

Another group of works in this show is made up of panoramas irregularly framed with rope motifs in the foreground, which contrast with the ambiguity and depth of the rest of the painting. Cabrera now uses materials with a greater economy, soaking the canvas with diluted acrylics; this results in gradations of color and new iridescent effects. He alternates a bright and varied palette with one in which a grisaille predominates on white grounds.

This is a show about the artist’s reflections on his entire previous body of work. This group of paintings has been passed through a purifying filter in which the artist takes up aspects of his previous work without reducing the new ideas to a mere synthesis. It seems as if Cabrera wants to conjugate—through the most stringent language possible—what he exposes and what he intends to hide. All of this, rendered through his impulsive brushstrokes, is nevertheless so controlled that it continues to open doors before him.

Aurora García

Translated from the Spanish by Hanna Hannah.