Ana Casanova modestly admits her connection with painting; she mentions her aunt, the well known Martha Peluffo, and certain letter drawers from Catalonia. It is immediately evident that her approach, her pictorial style, and the tone with which she assumes her modest genealogy have a rigorous simplicity, as if that familiarity made her adopt a language with no showing off, giving her a natural fluency to talk with no formulas, with a minimal organization in regards to geometry resources, but with the good sense, dynamics and sensitivity for the speed and control of the brushstroke in its superimposing, turning, sliding and charging movements, as well as in the eventual and deliberate assembly.
Under the reign of a calm balance, the sensible system of Casanova manifests itself according to a kind of very selective compendium of colors, where the shades, the faint denseness of pigments make warm and cold contradict themselves as expected, on the one hand, and transmit, fuse the boundaries of each fragment, as a transparency, separation, or suture, on the other. The whole seems rigid as a silent plot between gestures, reason and improvisation. At the same time, it appears invaded by an incipient curiosity that breaks out, from the cracks, in the least significant parts of these elemental composition attempts.
Casanova’s paintings are based on that simple structure, on that painting architecture that immediately involves, more than any other revelation, only the primary grammar of mute chromatic variables, the physical mark, the mere aesthetic consequence of the pictorial act in itself with a self strength, bald, which seems to answer back to certain morals, to the ultimate truth that places the action, the decision of painting, in the less luxurious corner of experience. It is the façade of a painting with no features, that may reflect a state of mind not determined in the prestigious expression or in satisfying art needs, but in the new search for a relationship (enquiring but not presupposed) between the material and the spiritual world; a hypothetical exercise of transfiguration that transforms each painting, and the painter, into something else.
Letting off the word and registering its manoeuvrings, would be, if achieved, a way of attempting the intellectual similitude of the process of “construction” with which Ana distributes what is “tangible” in her pictures. Opacities, transparencies, linings, rhythmic turns, are all intentions reluctant to break away from the kindness that sensitivity provides. The contrast, always appropriate for the visual comfort, talks about a “discretion” that exceeds the acquired and refers more to an inheritance than to a typical research discipline or a disturbing proposal. Gentleness is present. The active substance of the painting always has a floral insistence, in the sense of searching for the concrete by the ‘scent’, that wafting that turns the element into a casual impression and that we worship due to its involuntary and pleasantly anecdotic impregnation.
It is nice to neutralize the exhausting scope of solitude with a theatre resource and sound effect, contrasting the differences in equidistant form. Full and empty nearby subdue the anguish of a tyrannical presence. It may seem to be immediate, but Casanova perceives the presence of day in her bluish paintbrush by the reflection of the sky.
Buenos Aires, 2004
Perhaps, the great mystery of seduction is the naturalness of beauty.
Who can define ‘beauty’? We are not able to do it, but we can acknowledge it when it is in front of us.
This is the case of Ana Casanova’s exhibits, which immediately caress our eyes. With her successful combination of colors, shapes, materials and procedures. This in the realm of the obvious, we then need to go further, move closer and ask ourselves
about their charm.
Let’s say that what is more attractive at first is their pictorial feature which later on proves to be ‘false’. In these collages scissors replace paintbrushes, but the artist keeps painting because she reproduces painting techniques, like transparencies, blotting, superimposing and other verbs of the abstract discourse. Let’s keep on by pointing out the innocence of the colored papers we have used at school when we took some scissors for the first time after we were told “now, we will make a collage”.
This is how Ana Casanova recovers her primary school education and mixes it with her wisdom as an artist. She slides her exasperated scissors through her paper collection, which she glues, determined, on canvas, looking for a structure in order to deny it afterwards by setting a symmetry that she undoes in the end by adding other techniques that turn into formal complexities which, due to their conflicting nature, end up perturbing.
All this is achieved with resources that are within everyone’s reach, and with it she conveys a second meaning, an undeniable aspect of the human condition, that art also is a different arrangement of the things that surround us and this arrangement gives life a spiritual sense which is necessary and encouraging. With a minimum, with what is at hand, we can accomplish the most complex things, with the simplest resources. The faith with which Ana uses her scissors, the freshness with which she glues the clippings, the speed with which she assembles her soft compositions to create pieces that are also an account of her own, where the paths of her imagination and the reason for her recollection are shown, are worth to be seen.
New York April l999
The secret life of painting
Some words that come to mind when I think about painting: shapes, color, space, diagrams and a game that never ends…
Painting is something familiar to me. I have lived with colors and shapes my whole life, they are the things I have always paid attention to. Later on, it was a refuge, a place for learning and discovering.
An activity maintained over time, a knowledge that I can only obtain from experience.
Painting is like the voice or the lyrics, it is personal and at the same time public, it is part of the identity.
Why painting? Each one finds his way of expression, colors make the experience to be a direct one, it is the same with the line or the drawing. One dot turns out to be a line, a line that forms a diagram, a color, two, three. Painting is an experience, painting as a refuge, affectionate painting related to the familiar.
A look at the things that surround me.
Buenos Aires, July 2006.