The strokes, the dense colors and the varied textures make each of the works in this series an example of good art. There is firmness, confidence and clarity of intention. If we stopped for a moment to appreciate the Urnas drawings (as well as those in Sonajeros) we would see that theirs is a refined, even elegant, line. The color planes are subtle to the point of being even transparent. To talk about refinement and elegance—when aesthetics has ceased to be a consecrating value—may seem inappropriate, but it serves in discovering that behind the violence and horror of the subject matter there is a sensibility that resonates with humaneness.

 

If we abide by their title, these works represent container vessels. Their color lets us know that we are looking at ceramic vessels; their form shows us we are looking at globular vessels. But the outline is characteristic of the 9 human cranial box. By association, we may conclude that the forms that Gomezbarros paints and draws evoke pre- Colombian funeral vessels utilized in second degree burials— in other words, he is reminding us of the most respect-inspiring of rites: that of death.

 

However, with a tense and synthetic artistic style that he repeats and repeats without marked variations, the painter creates an emblem that situates us in front of the pain and sorrow aroused by a certain type of death: violent death. It so happens that as we run our eyes over the pictorial surface and we take in the vast play of hues and textures, subtle at times, abrupt at times, unsettling details appear here and there. They suggest fissures, crevices, broken pieces. A first look suggests that the painter is proposing to us a formal game, based on purely artistic reasons. A second look makes us think that they are caused by fractures present in the ceramic, common to objects that are centuries old and have remained buried since they were molded by the hand of man. A third look reveals to us that they are recently disinterred bone fractures of human remains. Such are the alternatives that the artist proposes. It is up to us to determine which of the three options we will choose, and how we will eventually want to synthesize or summarize them to save them into memory.

 

Alvaro Medina

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URNS

Contemporary Art Museum 

Universidad de Antioquia

Medellin - Colombia

2000