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Ground, Figure, and Ground Again

Monday, 20 November 2017 21:44 Written by Dana Saulnier


Ground, Figure, and Ground Again in the Art of Cecilia Vázquez*

The longer an artist works building a creative practice the more difficult it is to generalize about their work. This is because they are not simply ‘making statements’ that can be interpreted as an inventory. An artist responds to life and generates new dimensions within experience. It is better to think of their art practice as a way of dwelling.

In Cecilia Vázquez’s art we see a vocabulary of figural forms that pulse with her thinking: flowers alive to memory, cords that bind and connect, mandalas with no beginning or end, jewelry revealing a kind of hard beauty, and flesh. This flesh is visceral, vulnerable, ephemeral, but also poignant and intimate. These forms are presented in layers of multiplying styles.  Vázquez presents variations of her touch, including abrupt passages of painterly marks, stains, silhouettes, and refined description. Her work is ripe with historical connections to other painters, the problems of painting form and light, as well as traditions of still life and vanitas imagery. She balances a richly layered and fluid diversity of potential meanings in her work. We are always present to contingent meanings, to both continuity and discontinuity of sense. Indeed, tensions between insight and blindness are always intense in her art..

Cecilia Vázquez dwells in her projects as one dwelling in technique. Her habitation of shifting moments and spaces between figure and ground comprise a membrane of technique that she makes visible to us. We see her forms and spaces as the practical and technical ground of her thinking and thus: we see her technique. In some sense this is to see the ritual, practical mind of an artist who has long dwelled in her working methods. This dwelling is a deeply intellectual and practical matter, and one must grasp the practical grounding conditions of technique, of medium, as yet another way to think ground.

Vázquez’s art opens up, suspends, and projects our senses of time and language. This is another way of saying that her art visually realizes difference. While it is true that a horizon of technique is a ritual matter for an artist, for one practically alert to the differing of a life lived, it is just as vital that her being within technique is not exclusive to the studio. Along with us, she dwells in our changing grounding conditions. Cecilia Vázquez gives us her gifts as a witness to this life. She produces dimensions within this moment that are both poetic and prophetic.

By Dana Saulnier
Artist and art writer


*Fragment; for the complete version visit www.danasaulnier.com
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