On Thursday, January 27, 2011, Marlborough Chelsea will present an exhibition of recent paintings by the acclaimed Spanish artist Juan Navarro Baldeweg (Santander, 1939). The works, vibrant oils on canvas, range in size from small-scale to large-format. The exhibition continues through Saturday, February 26, 2011, on the first floor of Marlborough Chelsea.
To appreciate this exhibition to the fullest, it is important to know that Navarro Baldeweg, in addition to working as a renowned painter and sculptor, is one of the most important architects in Spain. Architecture plays a large role in these works, as the artist provides varying degrees of spatial and architectural clarity. In the painting Pintar I, for example, the rendering of the walls, ceiling beams, and floor firmly place the clearly defined canvas on the ground with the artist bent over it.
The work Pintor I, however, provides no obvious delineation between canvas and walls, and the viewer is left to wonder if the figure is painting on the walls or a canvas, and if he has created everything around him or only the space in front of him. With El estudio I (dos cuadros), Navarro Baldeweg abandons both the figure and the architectural structure altogether, leaving the viewer to situate himself within the canvas. This spatial ambiguity suggests that the subject of these works is not the spaces they represent but the artistic processes they embody.
As Navarro Baldeweg himself explains, “the theme of the paintings in this exhibition is the act of painting itself, in its most simple and direct form. Many works depict the studio and the painter in action in front of the canvas. This scene can immediately convey the movement of the hand and the body over the canvas, or the unknown effect of gravity on the poured paint, or the marks created by stencils made of flattened paper...”
Juan Navarro Baldeweg has earned many prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal for Spanish Architecture (2008), Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts (2007), Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid (2003), and the National Arts Award (1990). He acted as Head of Projects at the School of Architecture of Madrid and has taught at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, among many other established institutions.
The work of Navarro Baldeweg is included in many important museums and public collections around the world, including The Dobe Collection, Zurich; Colección de Arte Contemporáneo Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno Valencia; Kontmuseum Malmö, Sweden; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Drawings Collection of Avery Library, Columbia University, NewYork; and the Getty Villa, Los Angeles, among others.
An illustrated catalogue with an essay by Iván López Munuera will be available at the time of the exhibition.
This exhibition will run concurrently with Steven Siegel: Biography on the second floor of Marlborough Chelsea, 545 W. 25th Street,
New York, NY.