Foreword to the 1998 exhibition catalogue by Juan Gustavo Cobo
Cecilia Vargas has lived in London for sixteen years and her work as
a painter has continued to grow in skill and in expressive content. Her last
exhibition in this city succeeded in transforming colour scales into
visually harmonious chords.
There was a jubilant light in those patterned rhythms which repeated
themselves until they would become one unit of complex structural symmetry.
Now she breaks this scheme and faces the risk of taking us looking into
organic shapes which float in silence on the visual plane. But they are more
and more a spiritual quest. She holds them tight so that they are able to
flow. Like Monetís water lilies, they are a patch of light which changes the
size and nature of their surrounding space. A space which in turn embraces
and makes more significant those centres of visual energy.
In Ronda, Spain, working with silks, she learnt to respond to the rules of
the dyes which would make each brushstroke something unique and
unchangeable. In these oil paintings, though, this precision becomes
essential and revealing.
Rings, circles, broken lines, textures and the fabric of dreams move across
many pictures and make the contrast between yellow and purple, bleached
white and nocturnal blues, a wisely orchestrated sequence. Here, the
vibration of a tone and the resonance of a contrast connect all the works
which she now shows in Colombia in a vigorous visual concert.
Each note is unique but the whole embraces them in a singular development.
It is the place which her art has reached, from intuition to precision, from
the open shape to the closed one, which is in turn questioned, and which
takes her to the world again and to the constant fluctuations of our
perception. Now she observes the smallest things, the original cells which
float on the basic matrix. But the smallest thing is always projected onto
the largest one. Biology inexorably flows onto a cosmology. The shifting and
placing of the infinite layers of which our inner self is made point at the
hidden but necessary harmony between body and mind, between nature and
culture. Without it, we would not know where to look for the map of our own
stars. This is why she knows that her home is where her heart is: inside
each painting. This is the space she has built to inhabit.
That molecular world, where the rythmic pattern makes chance necessary: an
alphabet of simple lines and complex constructions at the same time. The
attention she devotes to the surfaces becomes profound.
This is why these slow paintings, hovering quietly in their submarine
atmospheres, of the deepest blues and the whitest whites, of bleached
reduction, aptly correspond to the title of the exhibition: Micrographies.
Sharp insights into our minds. Revelations of that which is not yet
expressed. And so, like in any other valid painting, more eloquent for what
it suggests than for what it affirms. These paintings turn thought into a
Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda
Poet, art critic and diplomat.
Athens, June 1998