Some artists find that the white paper or canvas surface restrains their creative act; others, that it is a passive support for expression, one in which renitent paint as material substance and white rendered as a color or light field seem subsidiary. In the recent production of Maria Villares, white is unyielding, i.e., light and surface are achievements. For the artist, experiencing the world is a means of knowledge acquisition; thence her disposition to tackle the artistic support in quest for luminosity. In her studio practice, nothing is a priori. The possibility of a poetics is only evinced afterwards, once the surface has been built and emphasized. From the materialization of two-dimensionality, a fabric of chromatic and compositional relationships emerges after her attempt to order the sensible realm through the reduction of representational elements.
There is something ethical to Maria Villares’s art making, to her gesture reflected on the experience of reading the essence of things rather than their appearance: a synthesis that asks for another contemplative, insightful gaze while propounding a differentiating experience to the viewer who greedily consumes the visual appeals of contemporary world. In fact, that which at first sight appears to be a modernist praise of the surface, hides something that only a thorough scrutiny can detect: the patient repetition of gesture in the manner of an artisan producing a smooth surface, the superimposed layers of paint, the resulting tonal variations, the embodiment of light.
One rare occasions, the artist appropriates inscriptions from the London cityscape, the starting point of her present series. However, one of such inscriptions, “godard”, is surprisingly coincidental (granted that coincidences indeed exist) and apparently closes a circle. In Passion, while standing before the white screen, filmmaker Jean-Luc Godar queries the (im)possibility of creation. Maria Villares provides na empirical response to this impasse. The meaning of these works is precisely the feasibility of art making in direct relationship with the word.
Margarida Sant’Anna, 2001 for the Individual Exhibition at the Nara Roesler Gallery.