Irene Grau: natural structure
Opening reception: February 23, 2018, 6-9pm
Irene Grau: natural structure
February 23 - April 8, 2019
Opening reception: Friday, February 23 from 6-9pm
natural structure is an exhibition of new paintings and photography by Spanish conceptual artist Irene Grau that explores space, color, perception and landscape.
Irene Grau’s methodology combines a mixture of influences and artistic traditions as diverse as performance, photography, monochrome, mural and landscape painting. She focuses on the transformation and perception of space using color as an agent of change…in this exhibition the colors black and white. Typically, after a meticulous analysis of a given space, either a natural landscape or human construction, her work includes a performative intervention that transforms that space through her thoughtful and minimal use of color, and documents that intervention in photography or painting or both. Grau says, “My methodology focuses on color as a transforming agent of space, and its perception. My visual concern and artistic exploration always stem from a direct relationship with landscape, context, and architectural space."
In natural structure the white quartz vein that runs though the otherwise dark grey cliffs of Seixo Branco, along the northwest coast of Spain, is referenced in the single, centrally positioned line of paint in Grau’s minimal paintings, or as the space between the panels of her diptychs. In geology a vein is defined as a sheet of crystallized minerals usually created by hydrological processes associated with hydrothermal circulation. The liquid geologic processes that formed the quartz vein at Seixo Branco are replicated in the single drip of paint precisely poured and allowed to run across the surface of the canvas.
The dualities (liquid/solid, black/white, etc) Grau found in the natural landscape are present in her choice of format. The line bisecting her compositions is like the quartz line in the cliffs of Seixo Branco, the central compositional element that dominates the landscape. The line strings her work together and ties this work to the land. This line also references the hike Irene made through the national forest surrounding Seixo Branco to get to the cliffs. The white line of quartz stone is replicated in the white or grey lines of her paintings. These lines act as both divider and cement holding the composition together…slicing the field into halves but also binding the emptiness of either side together. The geologic forces that created the landscape in Seixo Branco are mimicked in the bifurcation in each composition, and this sense of tension and compression is distilled in the compositional structures of each painting.
Irene Grau’s analysis of her experience of moving through and over the particular landscape of Seixo Branco, documented in photographs, is refined and reduced to the essential compositional elements of both the land and her minimally painted compositions. This metaphorical representation and transmutation of natural space as a reaction to her engagement with it is central to Grau’s studio practice, she states, “Walking and itineraries have a strong presence in my work. Movement, and how it affects our perception, directly relates to my personal understanding of painting. Painting not as an interruption, but something that establishes a continuous relationship in and with its own context.”
Irene Grau earned her MFA and BFA at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, and at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo in Sicily, Italy. She was the 2010 recipient of a Scholarship for Academic Excellence, and the 2011 recipient of a Ministry of Education FPU Scholarship for PhD Studies, and received her PhD in 2016. Grau has shown her work internationally in solo exhibitions and group shows since 2008, most recently in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia, Spain; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Her work can be found in numerous private collections in Europe, Asia, and the Unites States. She lives and works in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.