Concrete Structure and Color.

Catalog Crisis en concreto


Rarely do we know everything going on behind the canvas, what is intentional and what is accidental within it. In her case, Silvia Lerín comes to us as an intuitive painter with a life-long work history reflecting a prominent legacy –as a shared principle, not necessarily a literal reference- of the big notion in geometric abstraction, of some of the names associated with wide movements and well-timed conjunctions, such as “Normative Art” or “Before Art”, and her declared admiration -since her academic years- towards José Mª Yturralde. We are facing an artist, for which a biyective relationship between form and meaning eliminates any other representational intention; we are recipients of a painting philosophy in which each piece of work does not reference anything but itself, and therefore a bigger picture of Silvia’s complete work is necessary to deduce the poetic intent of the author.

Let us remember an artistic movement from the 30’s, created mainly around Max Bill, the Concrete Art. There exists explicit recognition of Silvia Lerín towards this movement named after “Manifesto of Concrete Art” (1930) by Theo van Doesburg, which was a pictorial style, that before anything, was intended to be free from symbolic associations, for which lines and colors were concrete on their own, and was a big proponent of solid colors. It wouldn’t be pointless, at this juncture, to reread what the meaning of the adjective “concrete” is: 1. Object: constituting an actual thing or instance; real; perceptible; substantial, (…) excluding anything extra or foreign. 2. Solid, compact, material (…); 4. Precise, determined, without ambiguity”

This exhibition titled “Crisis in concrete” assembles the latest work from Silvia Lerín purified from her constant change and mutation process. It achieves and overcomes the inflection point in a creative reality that cannot be other than subjected to evolution; a rightful choice among the many options along the way.

Among the shared principles with geometric abstraction there is the consideration of the painting as a structure that relies on itself and that is developed through magnitude, form, disposition, and rhythm. Making possible the animation of the inert through generation of spaces and rhythms; and, while building forms and structures, also reflects the inherent nature of time. Silvia Lerín will even propose art from the experience of the place, coming from simple structures that provoke effects related to shadows and reflections. Of course, interested on what sculpture can generate through play and movement of plane surfaces and their creases, including light as a pictorial element. Although, in this case, we are discussing an emerging way of full incursion in the three-dimensional design.

Her voice as a painter reached definition and personality with the abandonment of “informalist” reminiscences, of the oscillating and frail line that seemed to agitate the bottom. She achieved property with a particular revision of geometric abstraction and constructivism displaying powerful straight lines that provide perspective in the planes’ creases, allowing us to observe both their front and back. And with the inclusion of two colors and/or two textures: the physical roughness and the signals of how color is applied bring depth and movement in contrast to the areas of static presence uniformly colored.

It is this way that Silvia Lerín knew how to create the structure that allows, even more, that requires the overflowing of the most conventional canvas-window in order to adventure in more constructive formats capable of accommodating the multiple creases of the plane. In her latest work, we see how the painting structures approach the three dimensional object demanded by the plane and its creases when looking for new geometries. These are the required evolutionary steps that have been suggested in the titles –irregulars, visual accidents, fissures, fractures, interferences- of her latest paintings and exhibitions. Beyond this, in some of her examples of paint applied directly on the wall, in a logical evolution within the area of the expanded painting, the author conjugates this one with a secondary plane through a canvas that is removable and reusable.

Color is the second defining element in the personality of Silvia Lerín’s work. A reduced and sober range that, with time, is expanded, and two textures. So, while the eye of the spectator is required as the body’s delegate, it will be the touch the one to overtake the sight to touch with the eyes, to feel that skin-paint. However, we do not have to forget that color is the necessary meaning to produce the different pictorial spaces. The norm and the physical properties of color are meant to bring closer or take further pieces of the different chromatic fields through the temporary oversight of the surface in our conscience.

Knowing that Silvia Lerín discards geometry as the paradigm of transcendental utopias and that the structural systematization models are used as the shape in which to fit different proposals of nature, she is well deserving of the words by Palazuelo when he said: ” Geometry is in the origin of life, which is the most creative and infinite we know”.


José Ángel Artetxe. Crítico de arte

© 2017 Silvia Lerin. All Rights Reserved.