Amongst the various practices of elevated art, perhaps it is painting the most popular one for the big public. This is first due to its long history as a synonym of art and second, but not least, to the way it is. This way of being is connected with the fact of being introduced as an activity which results fuse the craftsmanship works with the production of images. In our world of technical images, notwithstanding the attempts of different painters who have tried to redefine their activity in harmony with the technological developments, painting can still represent a place to explain meanings with subjectivity, embedded with freedom and sovereignty.
This is the case of Silvina Ibáñez´s paintings, in which this young Argentine artist settled in Mexico is displaying before our eyes a dream world and personal views. Such works transmit an invitation to explore other painting technics, and therefore, different perceptions for her spectators. The question that underlies in this artist´s paintings could be formulated like this: what is a pictorical image? Thus, her works are an attempt to give an answer to this question. An image is, since Plato defined it in the Republic, is mainly “what turns up”: the phantom. Then, we have the images that reflect themselves in the water, the images that appear in ours dreams or the painted images. After Plato, throughout the West World history, image has had various values and definitions which yet preserve the idea of its singular aspect, that is to say, it does not belong to the realms of what is supposed to be true and real. Besides, as from Plato´s times, we know that an image can unveil unknown aspects of the world as well as it can enrich our perception of reality.
This is true in the images produced by Silvina, who has experienced throughout her career the various types of painting, from still life to female nude painting. Among her various series, her fondness for the representation of motives that refer to reality and a strong interest for daily facts can be highlighted, all of them under the halo of the fantastic. In some of her paintings we can find characters located in capriciously created spaces, where thanks to the use of colour, we can find sparkles of part of the light that the Greek defined as something more than mere natural light. In other works, the objects that we use in our every-day life are shown in narrow labyrinths, which are now our cities. Together with animals and plants that inhabit crowded landscapes, all this collection of portraits reveals us the willingness of the artist to share with the spectators the world of what shows up, the Wonder World – as the romantic Germans used to call it more than a century ago - as the real world. In this sense, Silvina´s style of painting is strongly subjective, which grows consistent from the expressive impulse that gives life to her images and which confirms her power to widen our ideas about what reality is about. In all these cases, it is worth appreciating the relationship of these images with Modern Art, especially with her expressionist painting.
In her attempt to answer the question that gives an impulse to her Works – the one that deals with the specific aspect of a pictorical image-, Silvina explores the materials she uses to create her images, for instance, canvasses. As a way of privileged support of painting, canvas introduces its own nature in the rough, prior to the preparation it undergoes in order to harbor correctly the world of appearances it is painting. The artist proposes us canvas and its material features as something which in itself has a meaning in its various irregularities. At the same time, she paints collage images, in which various materials, amongst which textile materials stand out, are a proof of the craftsmanship aspect of her works. That is the reason why the painter makes herself some of the frames for her portraits; or she displays her works as “mere canvasses”, hung up on the wall, without a frame.
With the aforementioned, Silvina confirms the consistency of the pictorical images as reality, but in order to do so, it has to emerge from the subject´s perpectives, which makes it possible to experience reality and which mainly makes it possible – behond the doubts posed by the various art styles of the Twentieth Century-, to appreciate what we call art.
Blanca Gutiérrez Galindo
México City, April 2008.