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Critique

2005

The art has been a constant presence in Pico’s life. She obtained her academic basics in the Art Students League of San Juan directed at that moment by Delta Picó, her mother.There she had the opportunity to study with important artists such as Jorge Rechany, Jimmy Schine and Betsy Padín In the decade of the 90’s, she enriches her artistic education at the School of Plastic Arts, with the ideas transmitted by Julio Suárez, Rafael Rivera Rosa, Zilia Sánchez, Carlos Marcial and Ernesto Pujol, among others. Finally, in the middle of the 90’s, her voice begins to be heard in the abstract art panorama in Puerto Rico. From her beginnings, the work of this artist has been characterized as being very intimate, human and of a high spiritual context. The prescripts of informalism have marked her artwork up to the present.

At the beginning of the nineties she works several self-portraits with semiabstract forms, while she develops, simultaneously, a pure abstraction language. The presence of human figures silhouettes that we find in De Profundis has been recurrent in her compositions. In 2003 one of the most significant changes that her artistic vocabulary experiences are the esgrafiado of signs, numbers and names on the pictorial surface (present in the paintings of this show).

Along her career she has demonstrated her preference to work the acrylic medium. In 1997, she attends the R&F Encaustic Workshop in New York, and experiments with the encaustic technic that allowed her to explore new possibilities in her paintings.In addition to the study of the effects of color and form in her work, Picó gives careful attention to textures. This is the most seductive visual element of her pieces. In her textures we can see the trace of an extremely sensual creative and physical process in which the artist uses the brush, the spatula, her hands and even the sole of her shoes to control the pictorial space. Similar to the abstract expressionists, for Picó it is extremely important to enter inside her paintings.

The exercise of introspection as a starting point for the creation of her works is not exclusive of the De Profundis pictorial proposal. Nevertheless, the introspective reflections that Oscar Wilde immortalized under the title of De Profundis (1905), served as a starting point for the creation of the works assembled in this exhibition. Wilde, spokesman of the aesthetics movement and of theories that proclaimed “art for the sake of art” writes De Profundis during his stay in prison, when he falls in disgrace after being condemned for homosexuality. In this work, the ingenious writer confesses that the external things of life are not important to him and emphasizes that the only way in which an artist can conceive life is thru the expression.

In the painting De profundis, Picó places an enigmatic human silhouette in the center of the composition. In her catalogue essay for this exhibition, Marimar Benítez points out that the above mentioned figure “reminds us of an anatomy in the subconscious”. The black silhouette is illuminated only in the area that would correspond to the belly, possibly an allusion to fertility. Picó manages the light, the textures and the color to create a mysterious image surrounded by an ambience of sensuality.

The artist complements her homage to Wilde reinventing the sculpture The kiss (1908) of Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) in a series of twelve paintings on paper that she titles De Profundis. Surely Picó admires this artist for his abitlity to personify universal symbols of life in his works and for achieving a powerful expressive force by means of formal simplifications. Pico captures the essence and the forms of The kiss (vertical composition of two figures merging ) to create a few compositions that – in clear contrast with the above mentioned piece – are loaded with organic forms of ondulating lines, games of color and gesture painting.

In this show, Picó experiments with a harmony of complementary colors (Ganesh, In Excelsis) and monochrome (La poética del drama, Union Square). But the similar harmonies of ocher, orange and red are the ones that play a central role in this exhibition. The above mentioned colors are present in “… en tránsito”, the work that best reveals the concepts of movement and displacement of her proposal. Picó divides the pictorial space in two squares in which she creates similar compositions. This duplicity refers to the contrast and the active balance of forces, the essential ambivalence of all things. The dialogue between both images take us to the mirror, symbol of the conscience as a way to reproduce the images of the visible world. The uniformity of both images is interrupted by a dance of serpentines that provide dynamism and movement to the composition.

The paintings of the series De profundis offer an intense pleasure to the eyes of the spectator while inviting him to travel across diverse realities born of the experiences of the artist. Picó has made us participants of her transit with the hope that we can identify ourselves with it and decide to make a trip to the unimaginable territories of our interior world (…).

(Prof. Elaine Delgado Figueroa, El Nuevo Dia , March 28, 2005)

After an intense internal process, Picó transforms these sensations into paintings. In this group of work, the textures are very important, as well as revising the elements which enriches the surface of her work. The textures are very rich visually; from far or close, they invite the spectator to the pleasure or to the vice of looking. Picó works in a spontaneous way; there is a whole that serves as a starting point, a few signs that she uses reiteratedly, a few forms that repeat themselves to explore changes on a topic, an earthy colors palette that she uses in several works; but behind all this, you can perceive in every piece of work, the intention of the artist of reinventing the painting.

In the series on paper, she uses some forms that remember the archetypal Kiss of Brancusi- the couple embracing each other. The paper offers Picó the opportunity to explore other effects, other textures, to express with a direct and forceful line the strength that moves her to paint. We can also see in these paintings a search for the perfect schemes of color. In the same way that poets explore the strength of words until achieving the precise expression, Picó works the color and composition to achieve the perfect solution to the problem of the form she has idealized.

The human body seems to appear in other canvases. Of the depths of the textures and colors, the spectator can guess or imagine the form of a torso. A lighter space in Union Square, a black silhouette in De Profundis, take us to an anatomy in the subconscious. The orange serpentines, another element of the paintings, claim the attention of the viewer, extracts him of the obsession with an invented narrative. As well as the crosses, the numbers esgrafiados, the repetition of OW (Oscar Wilde) and of “Zen” or “ transit “, it is a matter of evocations that provoke the dialogue with the visual image.  Precisely that is what the magic of painting is all about.

The magnificent blue work, that I baptized “Ganesh” provoked me an enriching dialogue; first I imagined a wonderful torso, like the ones I’d seen in her other works, then I saw the head of an elephant. Both images were disappearing in the textures and the color, inviting to keep on looking, to establish a dialogue with the work, and with the deepest internal voice of ourselves. Every spectator will find the work that provokes the transit to their interior. The serpentines, the crosses, some word, some sequence of numbers, some composition, will touch you and will drive you to explore the image, to penetrate into the work. Picó has managed to give an extraordinary visual form to her transit and offers the spectator an invitation to an interior trip, by means of the fascination and delight of looking at her painting(…).

(Marimar Benitez, catalogue essay Picó in transit, March,2005)

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