Charo Pradas

Galeria Buades

Like a magnified microorganism that is also a microcosm, Charo Pradas’ circular, con-centric figures incorporate and summarize all living matter. The viewer is fascinated by the endlessly related forms ranging from a butterfly with infinitely multiplied wings to a bunch of grapes or cherries, a broken molecule, a deep, dark hole, cells, an endless spiral inside an empty sponge, bacteria, ovaries, etc. An evolving volumetric ground is united by the threat the theme creates; shapes and connections ironically figure the growth of the world, the big bang.

Mathematics is reduced to arithmetic; primitive multiplications, eternal sequences of elements. There are no categoric truths, only wagers: wisdom is located in the collective memory. Natural explanations, and organic theories are more surreal than rational, but they are instinctively fulfilling, satisfactory and recognizable. The largest painting in this show, Sagrado Corazón (Sacred heart, all works 1990), is the best example of Pradas’ newest work and also the exception that confirms the rule. Although this work appears chaotic at first sight, through the numerous, connected archlike shapes, it coheres formally. The circularity explodes toward the exterior, invading the space rather than pulling the viewer into the center, to the site of the very genesis of the form. Colors here range from thick bloodlike red, to white, very soft pink, shadowy gray, and a light green used for the background. The title is a game: it has a clear religious, Catholic connotation and yet hearts are always holy, for there is no life without them. The remaining titles of the series—“La Chica” (The girl) and “Dupont”—have also been chosen ironically. (The Dupont series could as easily have been called the “Smith” or the “García” series, for it is an ordinary last name, though in French it seems more sophisticated.) In these series, the colors have not been reduced, but rather, the organic forms push the colors into a huge explosion that can almost be heard.

Pradas also showed paintings on cardboard. These can be seen as studies for her other paintings, as they are practically monochrome and composed of very simplified shapes. She applies the paint with sponges rather than with brushes, and the result is powerfully brutal, rough, heavy, and rotund.

Pradas’ works are alive; they play with concepts such as motherhood, feminism, and even genetics. In fact, they virtually give birth. This visually messy work paradoxically organizes itself around organic principles, and it grows in complexity.

Anatxu Zabalbeascoa