In a world of photocopies and disposable plastic bags, the sharpness of the painting of Maria Clara Gomez is disquieting. She evokes our evasive environment, binding to these large, clean canvases, where the mirror in Van Eyck's 'The Arnolfini Marriage' is replaced by curved, polarized windows which freeze rather than deepen, as in a snapshot, the modern urban landscape: sky, pavement, traffic signs, and gasoline stations. This is the landscape, whether in Tokio, Los Angeles, Bogota or Miami, that limits the range of our expectations.
In this new series set in Miami, the artist broaches and resolves difficult plastic issues. First, with a sensitive rendering of the luminous, almost white, atmosphere of open expansive skies revealing the imminence of the sea. She captures the light such that when we don't see the ocean, in our wish to reach it, we can almost hear its sounds. It is a horizontal vertigo, suggesting ample distances. Second, the contrasts provided by an architecture of glass, the interplay of light and shadow, clouds,and reflections, makes these aseptic and impersonal concrete conglomerates into enjoyable visual labyrinths. This is reminiscent of Monet in front of the cathedral at Rouen, registering changing light on the venerable stones. Here, the clouds floating by, the flag ever-so-genty hailing, breathe life into these cold backcloths, where, naturally, we could never see any of the human figures who might be gazing from within. Each building, solid and compact, is an air-tight closed-off cube.
But this intelligent visual game, traversing between solidity and lightness, between plane, mass and angle, has yet another successful creative derivation. These curiously empty segments of Miami, where perhaps a traffic signal or a wind blown palm might bring a piercing longing for the humans who presumably inhabit them, do not submerge us, as Edward Hopper does, in abject loneliness. On the contrary, these paintings so faithful to colour, to infinitesimal hues of blue, to precise silhouettes, provide us with the cheerful and liberating solace of objects turned into being. The city, without moving, starts to talk to us. We can, after all, live it and share it. The painting, with its fervent and precise insight, manages to inhabit it even before we do. By concentrating on her object, Maria Clara Gomez clarified and enriched her vision. She made it ours. She turned it universal.
Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda
Chief, Division of Cultural Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Relations, Colombia