Liz Christensen

Throught her artistic career, Augusta Barreda has been exploring form, color and materials, using a personal vocabulary synthesized from a variety of sources. Coming of age in the 1970s, Barreda´s peripatetic inclinations led her to resist both artistic dogma and provincialism while cultivating a strong belief that art is personally and collectively charged.

Barreda´s visual language has been shaped by the study of arts based in Western and Eastern traditions, as well as those derived from pre-Columbian cultures and folklore. As a seeker and a citizen of the World, the artist Developer a range of interests along the way, including mythology, spiritualism, and ecology, Vich have further influenced her aesthetic investigations.

A consummate extrovert, in the recent series of works, Barreda coses to introvert, to her own garden of the psyche, with an exhibition of sculptures titled “Internal Nature”. As in the past, Barreda referentes the organic world around her, particularly nature, and especially, flowers. Whit names like “Puyados (Prikers)” and “Pom-Poms” however, their designatios are not merely illustrative. Barreda reaches for the poetic as much as the naturalistic. The area between abstraction and representation is blurred, and there is a feeling of serious play at work.

Could we also be underwater in a forest of deep-sea creatures? At once elegant and whimsical, these earthbound clusters reach upward towards the sun in groupings or they stand alone as solitary sentries. The artist has conceived the individual Works in personal terms of “families”. The “Pom-Poms” have solid, tree trunk-like bases, spherically shaped tops and petals that explode outwards with multi-pointed rods.

Contrasted with the graceful lines and tapering curves of the “Calas”, the insinuation is clearly one of male-female personae. Like the mysterious hybrid sculptures of Louise Bourgeois, the “Internal Flowers”and the “Puyudos” are suggestive, yet slightly threatening at the same time.

Rich, sensuous reds and navy blues curled around white or red interors, not to mention an ocasional protruding “pistil” – further allude to the idea of body gender and unabashed sexuality. However, like Georgia O´Keefe, Barreda leaves interpretation of ther “flowers” to the eye of the beholder.

Barreda´s decisión to forego using bronze, as in previous Works, in favor of using only Word for the new series also signals a change. By using stains of color rather than paint, the inherent beauty of cedar, its natural grain and individual characteristics – is a coaxed from the aromatic wood. Smooth surfaces burnished by the artist´s hand impla a physical, intimate connection.

Central to the lovely “Calas” are their white interiors, symbolizing the pure energy of the flower. The whites are not stained with color but rather the Word is bleached. The process of removing color to reveal the inner core is integral to the artist´s intent and her love of metaphr.

“Art is something that moves from within you to the outside,” said the sculptor Kiki Smith recently, referring to her process of making visible her ideas. Sculptors throughout history have frequently referred to bringing out the image that already exist within the marble, or stone or wood. It is a mystery and a compulsión that frequently drives the artistic process and one that Augusta Barreda clearly relishes, with visually eloquent results.

Liz Christensen
Art Curator, Deutsche Bank
September, 2003