A solo exhibition by Ángeles Agrela graced the walls of CICA Vancouver and offered a vibrant vision of the venerable traditions of classical painting with the nuanced undercurrents of contemporary feminist semiotics. Rooted firmly in the fertile historiography of Spain’s artistic legacy, Agrela offered an avant-garde perspective, inviting audiences to a tableau wherein obscurantism and epiphany merge.
Born in a UNESCO World Heritage city, Úbeda, Agrela was not only deeply influenced by the Golden Age of classical painting, but also Renaissance architecture. Her work echoes the allure of masterpieces by Vermeer, Holbein, and Velazquez; yet resonates with contemporary artists, photographers, fashion designers, and comic illustrators.
Travelling and living in a mix of Naples, Havana, and Berlin, Agrela’s rich geographical journey infuses her work with a unique blend of cultural aesthetics. This diverse experience has cultivated a distinctive narrative, seamlessly merging classical influences with modern-day motifs.
AN IDENTITY OF SYMBOLISM
Central to Agrela’s artistic ethos is an intriguing dialectic of visualization and erasure. Her meticulous chromatic pencil renderings on paper delineate feminine visages ensconced in flamboyant coiffures. These intricate hair adornments that remind us of fashion photography, while visually arresting, frequently eclipse segments of the subject’s countenance. This conscious act of occlusion serves a dual interpretation: critiquing the perennial abstraction of the female form while compelling the viewer to transcend superficialities, inciting an exploration into the profound narratives veiled beneath these luxuriant exteriors.
“Las paradojas del aura” featured 20 artworks from 2014 to 2023, tracing the evolution of Agrela’s artistic journey. Her artistic endeavours present a syncretic fusion of historical reverence and contemporaneous innovation. Each composition invited an epistemological quest, urging an unravelling of the layered narratives concealed therein. Within her domain, every nuance, every chromatic variation, every obscured countenance proffers a profound dialogue, awaiting the engagement of the erudite observer.
Angeles uses the symbolic charge and communicatory capacity of hair to create an exaggerated ‘mass’ that frequently substitutes the face or hides it completely as a playful way to attract our attention away from the face and towards the rest of what we choose to represent our image.
Together with the hair, the use of colour, patterns, and fashion play a role in her discourse of ‘identity,’ Agrela presents a beautiful and somewhat ironic reflection on how women have been represented throughout the History of Art.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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