Lucía Onzaín

Galería Antonio De Barnola

Three yellow roses seem to lie at the source of Lucia Onzaín’s structures. The roses allude to the title of a Raymond Carver story, in which Chekhov awaits death in a room at a spa decorated with a vase containing three yellow roses. Each rose marks a grave—Carver’s, Chekhov’s, and that of the artist’s own father. Onzaín links the three deaths to give meaning to her own loss.

The dominant effect of Onzaín’s work is one of transparency—sheets of glass encase amorphous substances that look as if they could have given life to the objects of which they are a part. She often uses a light iron frame to support her glass and wax objects as if to underline that though glass and wax are indeed fragile materials, they are also strong, often hard. In molding the wax, Onzaín arrives at a paradoxically abstract kind of figuration with a solid, three-dimensional character.

All the pieces in the show are linked to each other and to some of her earlier efforts—such as Homage to Cardin, a work done in honor of a writer who died of AIDS—not only formally but also because they are in spired by death. In one of the drawings, flowing dark blood washes through the body of white paper like black waves. In another piece, eight cords were tied between two columns on the top floor, passing through hollow red wax cylinders, like blood through veins. Onzaín also filled spherical containers, which resembled those in which the flowers were placed, with white wax that hardened as the container cooled down.

Glass interests Onzaín because it is transparent and allows us to forget for a moment that we cannot access what lies on the other side of it. This contradiction seems enormously suggestive to her in the same way that the ease with which wax can change shape through a simple increase in temperature does. Onzaín explains her preference for these materials by pointing our that they are fragile but not ephemeral, and it is this paradox that lies at the heart of her formal and thematic investigations.

Menene Gras Balaguer

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent Martin.