(Santiago de Chile, 1972 )
Past - Present in Matias Vergara work
The evolution and development of visual artist Matias Vergara has been constant and fruitful. In spite of being a very young artist, his work has already gone through several stages, through many searches and, at the same time, has overcome many thematic obsessions. His constant work has given way to new platforms, from which he has built and structured new researches around the thematic, the quotes, the images fragments and, most of all, to new technical devices and adequate productive systems to sustain and give feasibility to his new visual proposals.
On the other hand, M. Vergara seems to have found other motivations in his life as on artist. The new reflections point at the search of a balance between opposite forces giving reason to a deeper and more honest relationship at a human scale with God, with life and with mankind. Also, the respect for the environment and a responsible relationship with others.
As the artist himself says "The truth is that my work does not intend to give absolutes and assumed, since it is only the visual testimony of what to me now solves the eternal search : the reason why we keep existing” and he adds "Defining existence sounds to me a little abstract and presumptuous, specially if the question is to know why keep living, talking into account our poverty and misery records”. Maybe these ideas and questions, which suddenly become life intuitions, mark the artist’s day by day with his world-environment. The grounds of this last and long work series have their origin in a specific work called “About mystery and the ephemeral". In this big format diptych we see, at the left, the carbon pencil drawing on canvas
of a worn out church located in the Colca canyon in Peru. At the right, the image shows us the interior of the Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa, Peru, made in paint and technical mixture. This first painting helps us then to place the proceedings used by the artist. First, the search of a thematic objective and the encounter with those buildings, many of them ruins, containing in their fragments images that recall old stories of the culture history. In his work many images of the man and the woman ore sheltered, sometimes prehistoric and in others very current, but the truth is that the artist systematically interlaces the history data with the presence or absence of the human being.
"Del misterio y lo efimero" is a work in which the quotes come from pictures taken by the artist himself as a travel record, as a memory help, finally as fragments of the human being’s creative history. In this work the drawing is used as a manual strategy to transport, from the photographic document to the canvas, the impression the artist wants to outline as a new imaginary. The counterpoint is the painting, which organizes the image of the Santa Catalina convent in which we see an old table set with dishes and glasses, while through the window we can see the bread oven.
Thus, the religious place and the table waiting for the man gather in the same territory to homologate, metaphorically the basic act of feeding the body and soul.
In another work he names “Andean Heart”, he shows us the strategy all his work goes through, in which images projected in the canvas, many of them previously worked in photoshop, are fixed with drawing so they cohabit with drawings made on the support starting from a direct model in the workshop. In this work the Willendorf Venus is proposed as that main image, where the original, the first, appears in the history of shapes retained by the hand of man. This image seems to show the start of the long march of man to retain in mud, on stone and later on bronze, his multiple and infinite ways to represent the image of the human being.
In the some work, very close to Venus, we see the modem Venus : it is the drawing of M.Vergara worked directly on the canvas, with that need to also represent the female figure from a current glance, where the eagerness for the pose seems to capture the closeness with reality. On the other hand, these images are accompanied by other textures, also of graphic nature, outstanding a kind offence, made of color rectangles, as if they indicated the limit between the past and the present.
In “Andean Heart”, a more synthetic work, the artist also works with fragments and on the right side he projects on the canvas the typical image of Machu Pichu, reinforcing its contours and eliminating the local color of that so well known sight in tourist post cards. Next to it, almost superposed, a drawing representing a naked couple hugging, seen practically from above, speaks to us about the past and of how the artist recreates the idea of reviving the presence of the human being in a cultural place empty for many centuries now. In a lower fragment we see a foot, which seems to retrieve the act of the man’s very first step, that which, in spite of time, we still keep constantly doing.
It is true, in an important part of these works the artist systematically refers to the past-present duality, the original and the current, but also the ruins and the phantasmagoric presence of the human being. This, alone or with a couple, is the character of a story that always activates a past that suddenly takes over the present. Following this idea, in “Archeology and Man’, the artist paints with a strong red the shadows projected by the columns of a Greek building, surely the Parthenon. The red fragments stress the phantom idea, which slightly covers a couple hugging forming on absolute union and, above them, again a foot fragment remarking the idea of the beginning, of the first step.
Another production strategy that has lately considerably activated is the sculpture on fire. These works are made on gres ceramics, which treatment on the surface is made with engobe and enamel, all of which is melted at 1260 Celsius degrees. It is not risky stating that the use of this technique is coherent with the problematic stated by the artist, since the election responds to the conscious fact of bringing to present from on archaic technique, the mystery of the past. In the work "Chaman" the artist makes a torso which shape speaks to us about the primitive, the schematic, where the physiognomic and the corporal do not refer to the artistic traditions of the modern occident, but quote, in its shape, primitive cultures. Even more, the artist combines two ways of execution : in the upper part of the head he places hand cut pieces in on immediate gesture, which he works as a counterpoint in front of the control and dedication he gives to the rest of the volume. In many of his sculpture works the artist makes small openings as niches or windows showing us on interior and intimate and mysterious world that goes with the works general idea.
In "Mercy" a synthetic form refers to a ship, in which deck there is a couple whose namalgamated volumes seem to look at another character who, submerged in one of the mentioned niches, seems to beg. The development of M. Vergaras work will keep going, opening day by day to new horizons and challenges in the complex world of visual arts. Meanwhile, it will be present in these works in an undelible way, a permanent and obsessive encounter with the past.
Gaspar Galaz C.
Archaeology of the Soul
In the past few years I have tried to better come to terms with my human side which I try to quietly reflect upon, but rarely manage to understand, which leads me in general take a critical look at mankind and it’s fascinating complexity whose thinking ability makes them different from all other species.
The conscious is one of these differences between man and beast and I believe that this could be a potential regulator a type of catalyst which confronts any type of situation, has information to view with humanity and knows to distinguish and choose between choices we face.
I am convinced that we are full of surprises, with amazing abilities such as those of thinking and reason, body perfection, our functioning like on unexplainable machine full of vital energy, with a love of living, of doing and creating things. We give and receive life, feel and show emotions spontaneously via our senses, we have on infinite creative capacity and a tremendous universe yet to discover from deep philosophy to the most day to day common activities.
However, selfishness and greed have long been with us in our consciousness for centuries shown by the construction of huge civilizations, monuments, cathedrals, sacred and pagan places with the aim of satisfying social and political needs or for adopting mortals and gods. Sooner or later time inflicts it’s cruelty bringing down stone by stone, engineering and ideology lose sense, they slowly start to deteriorate, completely disappearing, the shadows of great colosals begin to vanish along with their power dying out like any other empire.
Thus, despite my deep admiration for the achievements of our ancestors in creating monuments, I am able to see both sides of the story between the marvels that man has created and why he has made architecture, paintings, sculpture fresco painting, stained glass windows, mosaics, furniture and many other ways of showing our greatness through art, with individual sensitivities and outstanding mastery it contradicts the reasoning behind building large edification similar to subjecting people to corrupted powers such as political, judicial, economic and religious ones. Unfortunately quite often carried out by poor spirited, power hungry and overly ambitious men.
During various centuries the image of God was created by some as the all mighty and punisher, one that had to be worshipped, served and feared, distancing the divine from the earth. In the political arena I believe than humanity has been through everything man is capable of resisting and even not resisting, no power is excepted from having acted free of its human imperfections and cruelty.
I am in no position to judge whether those that have administered faith, law, in charge of different civilizations who in my opinion have been portrayed by history far from what God has expected from us. However I must question and make an effort to break with my blindness which makes me live in acceptance, something which I don’t think will ever let me rest is peace.
The answers I was in search of when I began to point for this exhibition two years ago turned out not to be a particularly special discovery, and once again become part of my daily concern in God, my wife, my children, my family and my neighbour, the right to live, respect for my surroundings and the responsible search for balance, although it was unexplainably difficult and I was wrong I want God to see me working for a new profound, honest relationship on a human scale where we interact and serve each other in a humble way.
In truth my work does not intend to offer completeness nor assumption, but moreover show part of a vital process that depicts the relation between the artists profession and how this con become entwined in life’s convictions which in my case is related to love, faith and profession. In amongst my permanent search and honesty I find the necessary tools to understand my work and understand myself better try to say listened to by others, speak of the body as sacred temple through panting, my profession as on instrument and by the image as a storyteller. Another fundamental motive for my painting or work in general is for travel, to experience travelling and meeting other cultures, to breath history, to feel its grandeur, to try and understand the history and past events in the place over centuries and milleniums.
It would be impossible to visit all the places I would like to as it isn’t the some to read about Pompeii as actually being there in person and feel time run through my senses, or just as I am excited by the Moais and their culture, the Venus of Willendorf or the Roman Coliseum, all of this presents information and adds experience which gives me more impetus to carry on working in search of images and testimonies which hold importance in the imagination which worked over the canvas or earth.
Travel is indeed important for visiting the places, the people, their faces, clothing, attitudes and colloquial language which helps to get closer to their past, understand the present so that the more I see of the world the more passionate I feel for art, and thus my other journey towards my interior furthers and deepens. My work is temporary just like my body and those of whom I love most, like my home, paintbrushes and photos. However, there is something I can create which will last eternally that is my soul where we can project ourselves through which is why we are blessed with life fertilised by others who love each other so that the tree can grow straight towards mystery and henceforth let wisdom run through our existence,..........sight,........love,.............and painting.
Matias Vergara Delorenzo