Gardens, cactus and flowers
The desert is probably one of the most inhospitable places where the human being can find: blazing sun, constantly moving sand, and an astonishing scarcity of water. The antithesis of the desert is the jungle, equally inhospitable but for the opposed reasons: overwhelming humidity, dense vegetation and hundreds of living beings that compete to survive, either photosynthesizing or setting traps among the brushwood. So, gardens, cactus and flowers. Among those rivals the human being can be found, fighting to get a place in the jungle, in the desert and trying to subdue nature under his yoke; this way, the garden was born.
Alejandra Atarés (Zaragoza, 1987) presents in this exhibition a new pictorial series in which she works with these elements, the arid landscape dominated by majestic saguaro cactuses, the thick tropical vegetation from the jungle and the calm of the landscaped parterre.
After her celebrated series of turned around portraits in which the landscape, being equally protagonist, was obviously less important, Atarés has decided to eliminate the human figure – but not its trail – from her now cleared landscapes. In this new pictorial procedure, the artist has kept her most distinctive trait: an intense chromatism that scents the scenes with an aroma of artifice and unreality.
On the other hand, there is something that is hidden in Atarés’ canvases. It is true that there is not human representation in most of the canvases that form the exhibition, however, in some of them we find, for instance, tiles on the desert’s ground. This fact alone leads us to talk about the limits of human control: maybe one day we can tile the entire desert of Sonora, but it will always end up recovering its ground and make its wat through the tiles.
However, this specific example is also a visual summary of the time that the artist spent in the USA: in an image she sums up an idyllic reddish sunset that bathes the cactuses and bushes of Arizona which grow on the tile that could belong to any house from Barcelona before 1930. With this instagrammer filter applied, each canvas by the artist from Zaragoza is transformed into a skillfully made scene. The viewer must determine the limits of reality: is it a dream? Is it the representation of a real place? Is it the representation of a scenery? Without this mattering too much, among gardens, cactuses and flowers it may be where we find the perfect snapshot.
Jordi Garrido, Art critic