For this exhibition, Adrián Navarro (Boston, 1973) presents a selection of works from his latest series Screens and Fragments, both from 2016. Adrián Navarro’s artistic practice primarily deals with the material and immaterial qualities of space —he is concerned with formal aspects but also with notions like the ethereal and the affective. His paintings are above all spatial arrangements, beautifully crafted optical illusions that depict what seems to be virtual spaces, artificial alter-realities that expand and multiply well beyond the limits of the canvas. These configurations very often present figures such as spheres and rings that contrary to logic do not occupy the space but instead create new layers of it. Relying on his extraordinarily painterly skills, Adrián Navarro overcomes the flatness of the surface and creates the illusion of a deep, porous and rhythmic space. It is in this context and this specific line of work where we need to frame Adrian Navarro’s Screens and Fragments.
Adrian Navarro’s artistic practice, however, cannot be fully grasped without making reference to his training as an architect. Similarly to what architects do, Adrián projects spacial configurations —if not to be physically inhabited, his paintings should rather be acknowledged as carefully constructed abstract landscapes meant to be experienced remotely. It is in fact through this experience that is only possible to perceive an underlying tension that pervades all his production —the coexistence of a certain sense of weightlessness, markedly present in his series Spheres and Rings, and a feeling of convulsion that primarily stems from his brushstrokes, specially those confined within the figures. When Adrián Navarro speaks about his practice he makes reference to an opposition, a struggle, between the realms of the real and the virtual. Are his paintings a comment on the increased overlapping and the convulse merging between the two realms? Tellingly, Adrián deploys architecture-based digital tools such as Autocad as part of his creative process; through this program the artist creates highly detailed digital figures and spatial arrangements that only later he transfers to the canvas in this way initiating a process in which the materiality of painting takes over the stable and aseptic digital environment.
Fragments and Screens should be seen in this light —as details, zoom ins, of those aforementioned figures. But there is more than this, Fragments and Screens represent the latest stage of development of Adrián Navarro’s artistic practice and so there are significant variations from previous work. There is an unequivocally intensification of the grid at the expense of the abstract layer that remains secluded behind it. It is also true, however, that the circles that conform the grid have become ostensibly bigger allowing the abstract layer to be more visible. The grid is a constant element to be found in most of Adrián Navarro’s work —a grid that resembles a lattice, an architectural element primarily used to conceal the private from the public but also commonly used to filter natural sunlight. Widely used in modernist architecture, Adrián’s use of it might respond not only to his need to create a porous skin for his bodily figures but also as an element to enhance the abstract-geometric nature of his work and as a source of light. And what lays behind the grid are indeed richly coloured and rhythmic abstract compositions, fully abstract paintings that follow but also contribute to this long artistic tradition. These interiors are carefully controlled chromatic combinations that Adrián uses to create the illusion of a dematerialised space that eventually loses its unity by the presence of the grid. To conclude, there is another important element worth mentioning in the work of Adrián Navarro —a methodology based on serialisation and repetition that since the very beginning has accompanied the artist. It is indeed this wish for exhaustion and his commitment to the medium of painting what has led to Adrian Navarro to progressively develop a highly personal, solid and conceptually grounded artistic practice.
Antonio Ferrer, Curator