IN BRIEF

Juliana Soto. KIMERA

A selection of recent works in oil on canvas, painted in Colombia, Russia, and the United Kingdom by Colombian-born artist, Juliana Soto. This group of works evoke realities which are hoped for, but may be illusory, or impossible, to achieve. Using a formal language between abstraction and figuration, they explore the traces of empire and colonialism, the displacement of peoples, and the impact of climate change. They invite the viewer to consider ways in which we can, together, imagine an escape from the constrained spaces of the Anthropocene. Soto hopes to make a meditative space where we can dream together.

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am like a chimera trying to make desired spaces in a possibly unobtainable dream. To create an oneiric space with what is in front of your eyes. Lights, multiple planes and crossing lines, colours and vibrations reveal what enters me in an ineffable way. An escape to a meditative perspective.
I paint what I want to see – Philip Guston.

Art is necessary, as it serves human ideals, allowing for increased comfort, knowledge, happiness, reflection, and assimilation, whilst questioning the stability of the object. It is a vehicle for personal processes of mobility, migration, diaspora. It invites broader forms of participation; it widens the circles.

I want to evoke the emotional, the quiet, and the vigorous, making them visible and invisible I want to pursue a modular and geometric approach, based on slight detachment in the pictorial, and obscuring any subjectivity in its representation.A cohesive relationship between Art, nature, landscape culture and society. A new figuration. There are neither signs nor symbols. Anyone who looks will always find references. A process found in the mystery of ordinary things. The evanescence of that which disappears but also remains; like a peace process that only continues conflict, or the former sites of industrial mining buried in pastoral landscapes, the unstable legacy of Brexit, the climate changing the permafrost into the temporary glacier, or the fruitless search for El Dorado, forever marking the colonized territory.

There is a constant and enigmatic relationship between historical facts and how the mind perceives them. The mint green official buildings of the Russian imperial past still stand, matched by the colours of the weather, as if the Czar still owns the clouds. The blue house is not a home. An imperial bedroom is deserted, but for a statue covered up in a white sheet, stairs that are no longer used and have no destination, reminiscent of Miss Havisham’s room in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

There is a constant and enigmatic relationship between historical facts and how the mind perceives them. The mint green official buildings of the Russian imperial past still stand, matched by the colours of the weather, as if the Czar still owns the clouds. The blue house is not a home. An imperial bedroom is deserted, but for a statue covered up in a white sheet, stairs that are no longer used and have no destination, reminiscent of Miss Havisham’s room in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

The red constraining space of suffering is trapped in an cycle of violence. Outside, there are stairs that seem to reach heaven – but how would you get to them? Is it enough to know that at least the distant sky can offer a glimmer of hope?

The yellow geometries evoke the gridded street system of newly built colonial towns, an order imposed on an existing landscape. The white barbed wire keeps prisoners inside – or does it also keep you outside? No-one is free until everyone is free.These paintings hope to make the observer aware of what has been lost or buried, like a palimpsest, a surface on which writing has been superimposed over previous inscriptions, which are still visible. The works finds a path between abstraction and figuration. They form a narrative of images which are structural and chromatic metaphors for lives and situations cloistered in the fragile discipline of realities.

My never-ending journey is an attempt to be a Colourist, a painter using intense colour, exploring the dynamic between modernism and colourism to the autonomy of expression. It is a dominant feature in the quality of the work, almost more important than its other qualities. By using formal and minimalist strategies, they create layers of meaning. Telling stories of enclosed spaces for memorials, spaces for refuge, and shrines for sanctuaries. Making art is an act of love that can transcend loss.

ARTISTIC INFLUENCES AND FELLOW TRAVELLERS

Joaquín Torres-García. Constructivism
Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism, a language of abstract geometric shapes.
El Lissitzky. A Suprematist, and major influence in Bauhaus architecture and constructivism.
J. M. W. Turner. A romantic painter light. He elevated landscape to a different dimension.
Ana Mendieta. Deals with issues of gender, identity, human connection to the earth and nature.
Rufino Tamayo. Influenced by surrealism, worked in figurative and abstraction styles.
Tony Capellán. Political installations on the themes of colonialism and diaspora, environmental destruction, and socioeconomic precarity.
Nicolas de Staël. Superimposed forms floating over a neutral background creating beautiful harmony, Light emerges from the depths of the canvas, he creates a rhythm through his oblique lines.
Piotr Potworowski. A colourist.
Sonia Delaunay. She finds the construction of form through colour. A series of cantilevered windows and facets which overlap.
Jean Dubuffet. Raw Art, Arte Bruto, Biomorfismo, geometry, abstraction, instinct, passion, mood, passion, violence, madness.
Paul Cézanne. Disfiguration of the landscape. He introduces a new mode of representation. To me, the father of abstraction.
Antoni Tàpies. “Grey ochre”, a pioneer of mixed media in painting.
Pierre Soulages. The colour black.
Daniel Buren. Conceptual artist, “On the spot” strategic placement of visual aspects and treatment of space. He integrates in his work visual surfaces into architectural space.
Jesús Rafael Soto. Kinetic Art, Op Art. Dissolution of form and space through line and colour.

EXHIBITIONS

“Echoes of Nature”. Rogerio Steinberg Gallery-Institute. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1992).
“Caminantes”. Artplay. Moscow, Russia (2007).
“The fabric of Myth”. Beliaevo Gallery. Moscow, Russia (2008).
“Time Bomb”. International Fund for Slavic Literature and Culture Art Gallery. Moscow, Russia (2010).
“Palimpsest”. Colombian Consulate. London, United Kingdom (2015).
“Behind the Curtain” / “Ante el Telon”. Colombian Consulate. London, United Kingdom (2016).
“Common Ground”. 44AD Gallery. Bath, United Kingdom (2016).
“Breaking the Frame”. Golf Club Saint-Tropez. Gassin, France (2017).