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Painter of depths

Monday, 02 June 2014 15:48 Written by Angélica Abelleyra    
Breaking open a piece of earth and placing it in on a painting? Spying on an archipelago and exploring its depths rather than its limits? Feeding nocturnal fires with the silence of the line? Catching sand and stones to throw them to the wind, to people new Natures?

Irma Palacios finds meaning in all these activities. She should have been a geologist or an archaeologist, so as to plunge into the depths of a crag or the secrets enclosed in earthly remains. However, she decided to become a painter, and does not copy the microworlds that concern her, preferring to invent them and go far beyond the obvious and superficial.

A painter of crystallized trees and suspended swells of waves, she is considered a successor to Lilia Carrillo - an artist who pioneered lyrical abstraction in Mexico. She has held solo or group shows, in cultural centers, museums and galleries in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Yugoslavia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Bulgaria and Italy. She has won awards such as the Rufino Tamayo First Painting Biennial Prize (1982), when she met Juan Garcia Ponce, a writer who became one of the main driving forces behind her work and of the painting movement called “Ruptura”.

An inveterate watcher, she can spend an entire day sitting in a park gazing at people and animals going by. She calmly observes them but does not make sketches or movements, as this would “break the spell”. She then returns to her studio, places herself before a canvas and knows that these images will emerge, though the drawings on the earthy surface, which recall trees or horses, do not resemble anything at a first glance. But when viewers look closer they are overwhelmed by air, light, sensations and other elements.

Text originally published in La Jornada Semanal (September 17 2000), part of a book edited by UANL.
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