ABOUT PEPA PRIETO
Though at first glance Pepa Prieto’s work might look simply like an especially fresh take on the familiar genres of landscape and still life, closer examination reveals the way that she uses the language of painting to explore memory and personal narratives. Nowhere is her virtuoso approach—the result of academic training—more apparent than in Paisajes Lejanos, 2 (2014). Here, echoes of nineteenth-century modernist masters reverberate in a painting that seems at once up-close and far away. The title translates as Distant Landscapes, 2, a seeming contradiction to the color and detail evident in the foreground. Exuberantly colored brushstrokes and drips pile one on top of the other in a cacophony of visual information, yet there seems to be an ultimate lack of firm grounding, as the strokes and drips fade toward the bottom of the canvas. Like one of the many late Cézanne painting of Mont Sainte Victoire, there is an indeterminacy in the foreground which prevents the viewer from locating the precise vantage point of the work, and thereby prevents an accurate assessment of just how near or far any single object might be. Indeed, without the title the viewer might miss the pale, unsaturated peaks just below the center line of the canvas, at the left side. Violating the usual viewing habits of vertical perspective, here the mountain tops that seem most distant are nowhere near the top of the composition.
From the first glance, it is clear that the paintings aren’t mere records of a place or arrangement of objects. Indeed, quite unlike Cézanne, these are not endless formal experiments that use the same subject hundreds of times as a means of experimenting. The harlequin pattern just below the painting’s center, for example, is certainly not any kind of natural landscape feature, and the UFO-like form in the upper right corner adds a whimsical note that is presumably not based on observation (but who knows?!?). So, what are they? I would suggest that they are akin to so-called “memory palaces”, imaginary architectural constructions that can be used to “house” sets of information for easier and more efficient recall. The proximity or distance of an object or gestural mark, the clarity or murkiness of detail, can be seen as analogous to the tricks that memory plays on us all, with its gaps and inconsistencies. The way that the artist has chosen to build her compositions is a tool for retrieval, forging connections between disparate memories and making meaning of them through their visual realignment on the canvas. Each composition tells a new story, and the viewer is invited to do the same, filling in missing information by imagining what objects might be, and what their relationship to one another is. In this way, the paintings act as vehicles for the viewer’s own memory recall and story telling.
This is not to say, of course, that the works are limited by historical reference or restricted to the function of narrative. Prieto has a sense of humor that rewards the careful viewer, which can be seen in the Strange Arrangements series. For example in Strange Arrangements, 5 (2014) we are presented with a straightforward still life. But instead of flowers and other plants, there is a lamp and other, unidentifiable items that seem to be stuck in some kind of umbrella stand. Taking the quiet beauty of traditional still life and transposing it into the mundane world of a dusty closet corner is not only funny – its another reference to the dusty corners of our memories, where things lurk that only rarely see the light of day.
By using timeworn subjects with familiar tropes, the artist similarly creates a fertile ground for experimentation, but whereas Cézanne’s project was largely dedicated to formal experimentation with space, using color, brushstroke, differing levels of detail and other tricks from the historic paint box, Prieto has found a way to recuperate meaning, imbuing the formal gestures with personal significance as she builds intuitive links to her own and other narratives, weaving the stories of her life together with those of others and of the wider world of our own time.
Elizabeth M. Grady, Ph.D.
Program Director, A Blade of Grass
ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ACCOLADES
- 1991-1997 University Complutense, Madrid, Spain, MFA, Painting.
- 1998-1999 Mixed Media, Central Saint Martins College, London.U.K
- "Unhappy hens do not lay eggs"
Xippas Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
- Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
- "How did I Convince Myself?"
Centre Contemporary Art, Andratx, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
- "A Place to Get Lost"
Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
- "The Color of Where You Are Not”
Slowtrack Gallery, Madrid, Spain
- "I have not Come to See the Sky"
CCA, Andratx, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- ” Land Ho"
Circuit 12 Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, U.S.A
- "Way to Far Way to Near"
Iguapop Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Panta Rhei Gallery, Madrid, Spain
TWO PERSON EXHIBITION
Circuit 12 Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, U.S.A.
- Nit de L' Art 2016 , Curated by CCAndrantx, Centro Cultural La Misericòrdia,, Palma de Mallorca. Spain.
- Grafforists, Curated by Max Presneill, Torrance Art Museum, CA. U.S.A. http://www.torranceartmuseum.com/upcoming-exhibitions/
- Casa Leibniz, 2016, Curated by Stuart & Perez, Madrid. Spain. http://casaleibniz.com
- MIX, Xippas Gallery, Punta del Este, Uruguay.
- Art on paper Fair, 2016, with Walter Maciel Gallery: New York. U.S.A. http://thepaperfair.com/ny
- WMG Ten Years Anniversary, Walter Maciel Gallery: Los Angeles, CA. U.S.A. http://www.waltermacielgallery.com/pprieto.html
- Saturation, Curated by SCAN, La Carolina, Jaen, Spain.
- Summer15, Curated by CCA Andratx, Center of Contemporary Art, Andratx, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
- New International Society Exhibition 1, Torstrasse,161: Berlin, Germany.
- Saturation, Curated by SCAN, The Fitzrovia Gallery: London, U.K.
- New International Society Exhibition 1, Museum of New Art, Camille Gallery, Detroit, U.S.A.
- Illusions of a Perfect Utopia, Contemporary Landscape, Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
- Destination, Mykonos Biennale, Mykonos, Greece
- Escape Velocity, Mirus Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
- Surface Pattern, Circuit 12 Contemporary, Dallas, TX
- “Grafika" Institute Cervantes, Algeria.
- “Surface Pattern,” Circuit 12 Gallery, Dallas , USA
- “Grafika" Mikser House, Belgrado, Serbia.
- “Grafika" Institute Cervantes,Belgrado, Serbia.
- “SuperGrafika" FinestraStudio, Zaragoza, Spain.
- “Grafika" Instituto Cervantes, Sofia, Bugaria.
- “Grafika" History Museum, Zaragoza, Spain.
- “Grafika", National Gallery , Amman, Jordan
- “Grafika”, Villa Audi Foundation, Beirut, Libanon
- “Grafika", Institute Cervantes, Bordeaux, France
- “Grafika", Institute Cervantes, Madrid, Spain.
- “ Modern Fabulist”, View Art Gallery,Bristol , U.K.
- “Grafika” Imagine Contemporanea, Zaragoza, Spain
- “G.Gone.Global”, Miami Art Basel, U.S.A
- Mural for Primary Flights and le Books, Miami, U.S.A
- “Today” Monster Childrens Gallery, Australia
- BAC. Barcelona Arte Contemporany: Barcelona, Spain
- Hangar 1080, Los Angeles, USA.
- Edicion Madrid III, Madrid, Spain
- "Cultura Urbana 08", Madrid, Spain.
- “Bread and Butter Barcelona”, Barcelona, Spain.
- CCA Andratx: Mallorca, Spain
- CCA Andratx: Mallorca, Spain.
- The Fountainhead Residency, Miami. USA
In conjunction with Primary Flight, completed a wall mural on NE 40th just across from The de la Cruz Collection.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY (Print and Web)
- Artandcakela, 2016
- Hyperallergic, 2016
- IDN, June 2015
- Price Bullington, April 2015: Pepa Prieto Interview
- Seymour Projects, June 2015: Pepa Prieto Interview
- Tondo Social, June 2015: Pepa Prieto Interview
- Jeff Hamada, BOOOOOOOM, October 2014
- SCAN ARTE, selected by Kristen Glass, 2014
- Moodmoods, May 2014
- Mas de Arte, Dec 2014: News
- artsyforager, 2014
- Missmoss, February 2014: Pepa Prieto paintings
- Todd Camplin, June 2013, Camplinart
- Georgina Sas, Diario de Mallorca, December 2013, “Otras Selvas”
- Colectivo Futuro by Miguel, Agust 2012
- Nurture Art, December 2013, Pepa Prieto
- Inmonova, January 2013: Pepa Prieto exhibitions
- Chieh-huang, February 2013 , “A Knot” by Pepa Prieto
- Stephanie J. Young, Vellum Magazine, no.5, 2007 (pgs, 26-29), NY.
- Glasstire, April 2013
- DontPanic, by James Ratcliffe, May 2012: Artist Spotlight Pepa Prieto
- MutantSpace, October 1 2012 by Moray Mair: Exploration
- Staff Magazine, September, 2012
- In conjunction with Primary Flight, completed a wall mural on NE 40th just across from The de la Cruz NBC 6 MIAMI, Collection. NBC 6 caught some of the action.
- Glamour Magazine, Maria Parra, May 2012
- Juxtapoz, December, 2011. Recent Paintings by Pepa Prieto
- Escape into life, by Danica Van delved, December, 2011
- El Pais by Tony Torrecillas, December, 2011,
- El Mundo, Yo Dona by Brianda Fitz James Stuart, December
- Wall Paper by Kathryn Harris, December, 2010.
- ArtBattery, May 2009. Art intervention for Airbus and MTV by Pepa Prieto
- NEO 2, Neo Citys Jesus 2009, (Video)
- Beautiful Decay Magazine, August 3, 2010
- Bussiness TransWorld, Wed, Jun 11 2008, Artist Plane by Pepa Prieto:
- This Art is Yours, By Jaqueline, 2008,
- Daily du Jour, March 7th, 2010 — by Richard Scarry & Chippy Coates,
- Pocketo, Angie April the 6th 2009,
BOOKS IN PRINT
- Side Ways, Published by Die Gelstalten, Germany, 2009
- Beautiful Decay, Volume 5, 2011.
- Picnic, Published by Promo Press, Retina y Retinette 2011, Pages 070,071,072,073
- The Tote Bag, by Jitesh Patel, Pages 118,119 (published by Laurence King) , 2011.
- Pepa Prieto, Elephant Magazine, www.elephantmag.com, 2010.