CICA Vancouver is thrilled to present “Ángeles Agrela: The Paradoxes of the Aura (Las paradojas del aura)” a solo exhibition by the highly anticipated artist Ángeles Agrela, from September 28 to November 4, 2023.
In the vast and ever-evolving realm of contemporary art, Ángeles Agrela emerges as a beacon who intertwines the venerable traditions of classical painting with the nuanced undercurrents of contemporary feminist semiotics. Rooted firmly in the fertile historiography of Spain’s artistic legacy, Agrela offers an avant-garde perspective, inviting audiences to a tableau wherein obscurantism and epiphany merge.
Central to Agrela’s artistic ethos is an intriguing dialectic of visualization and erasure. Her meticulous chromatic pencil renderings on paper delineate feminine visages ensconced in flamboyant coiffures. These intricate hair adornments that remind us of fashion photography, whilst visually arresting, frequently eclipse segments of the subject’s countenance. This conscious act of occlusion serves a dual interpretation: critiquing the perennial abstraction of the female form whilst compelling the viewer to transcend superficialities, inciting an exploration into the profound narratives veiled beneath these luxuriant exteriors.
Born in a UNESCO world heritage city, Úbeda, she was not only deeply influenced by the Golden Age of classical painting, but also Renaissance architecture. Her work echoes the allure of masterpieces by Vermeer, Holbein, and Velazquez; yet resonating with contemporary artists, photographers, fashion designers and comic illustrators. Travelling and living in a mix of Naples, Havana and Berlin, Agrela’s rich geographical journey infuses her work with a unique blend of cultural aesthetics. This diverse experience has cultivated a distinctive narrative, seamlessly merging classical influences with modern-day motifs.
“Las paradojas del aura” will feature 20 artworks from 2014 to 2023, tracing the evolution of Agrela’s artistic journey. Her artistic endeavors present a syncretic fusion of historical reverence and contemporaneous innovation. Each composition invites an epistemological quest, urging an unravelling of the layered narratives concealed therein. Within her domain, every nuance, every chromatic variation, every obscured countenance proffers a profound dialogue, awaiting the engagement of the erudite observer.
About the Artist
Ángeles Agrela was born in Úbeda, Spain, in 1966. She has resided in Naples, La Habana, and Berlin, and she currently lives and works in Granada. Her recent works seek to reconceptualize the role of women within the History of Art by creating a contemporary representative view. Following this theme, the key feature of her drawings becomes the hair, which has important cultural and historical connotations within the representation of the feminine. She uses the symbolic charge and communicatory capacity of hair to create an exaggerated ‘mass’ that oftentimes substitutes the face or hides it completely, as a playful way to attract our attention away from the face and towards the rest of what we choose to represent our image. Together with the hair, the use of colour, patterns, and fashion play a role in her discourse of ‘identity’. Agrela presents a beautiful and somewhat ironic reflection on how women have been represented throughout the History of Art.
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