Alicia Murría.
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Alicia Murría.

Alicia Murría. Las Formas del Silencio.

Libro monográfico “Las Formas del Silencio. Antología crítica (los años noventa). Enero 2005.


Alicia Murría

José Manuel Ciria’s paintings are constructed of planes and intersections, overlapping physical levels, opening up to meaning and interpretation. The complexity of his method responds, on the one hand, to a rigorously defined conceptual programme and, on the other, to an exhaustive knowledge of his materials and their behaviour. The result of this harmonisation can give the impression that his paintings were created effortlessly. A precariously balanced tension between weight and levity, density and suggestion, emotion and reason.

In the softly-nuanced background, everything is possible. Neutral and distant, it is a suspended atmosphere, a vacuum as specific as solidity. The geometric structure establishes a stabilising and organising statement –symmetrical, sectioned spaces.

The great blot of subdued or brilliant colour is the place where matter is subjected to tensions. Corporality and presence, a stony area, worn and corroded, where controlled violence has been meted out. Primeval and powerful shape, its surface claims our touch. Subterraneous, organic geography, fluid and metamorphosed, emotional and unstable. Living matter that seems to evolve before our eyes.

Lastly, an autonomous territory is erected, breaking this solidly drawn scheme and introducing imbalance; the meandering pencil stroke, crossing the picture, adding a measure of playfulness and autonomy. The trail of a drifting hand, possessed by a guiding inertia, pausing, wheeling back on itself, changing directions, hatching, annulling the clean coloured background, attacking the underlying structure. An awkward upstart game, in which Ciria grants himself all kinds of liberties. Just as he was previously restricted by the balance and rigour of the carefully prepared structure, the artist now apparently wants to to dynamite this order, rejecting its limitations. Gesture and chance.

Ciria’s work is the product of a profound knowledge of the history, theory and practice of painting and is, at times, peopled inhabited by homages, to Fragonard, Puvis de Chabannes and others. His titles corroborate these references, Venus with Board and Cupid, Allegory of Christmas, The Painting of the Madmen, The Reappropriation of Worship, The Madman of Leonberg, Rip their Heads from their Bodies, The Pleasures of the Dance.

The canvases are offered to us as fragments of infinity. A timeless narration, encompassing the abyss, stirring up feelings of temporality, linked to individual time, time and process, memory and experience. Light and shadow. An adventure which, like life, sometimes seems to obey our desires and others, is irrevocably governed by chance.

José Manuel Ciria explores the limits of painting, as an exploration of himself. Out of passion and analysis, and by means of nuances and overwhelming presences, he constructs an art that conjoins immateriality earthbound tangibility. Serenity and depth, cutting through the centre of things.