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At the Edge of the Horse

Arturo Correa portrays a different kind of beauty in his Caballos (Horses) series. These paintings are controlled by personal artistic rules and aesthetics determined by the imagination. Fascinated by the figure and representation of the horse, whether at its physical peak or some stage thereof, Correa’s creation is based on personal experiences that define his love and appreciation for the noble animal. Whether real horses or merry-go-round figures, they are classic images in the works of this young Venezuelan artist. Horse and merry-go-round as symbols of life. For him, they are intimate “characters” to which he was deeply attracted since childhood. He now shapes and expresses them passionately in strong colors, with thick strokes that define the shapes and a creative representation of his treasured memories. The complex combination of forms in Correa's paintings involves the appropriation of diverse artistic features expressed in historical vanguard movements; from these he creates a personal language that belongs to him alone. He is a figurative artist who combines shapes with a geometric approach. The entire horse, its head or different parts of its body, are crossed by planes of color and certain strokes that turn the painting field into an artistic action that is not afraid of making an abstract and subjective "remark" on the subject. Correa’s iconographic certainty connects with the one he offers in his other thematic interests: flowers and cars. At any rate, the points of reference for his Horses series are rooted in the artist’s own experiences, in a personal affective and sensitive reality that Correa turns, on canvas or paper, into archetypes reflecting his own existence as a human being and an artist. For Correa the artist, the Horse (with a capital H) theme stands as a challenge to academic conventions. Not because the Horse hasn't been a theme of many other artists, but rather because of the way he portrays them in his paintings: a “manifesto” on the area of human-animal nature and on art itself, stemming from the very existence of such an intimate space. Caballo con código de barra (Horse with barcode) is a finished portrait that conveys feelings. Here the artist eliminates the dissonance between portrait and horse by “interpreting” the animal with affection. He places the horse in the context of a comprehensible artistic reality, on a background of lively color blots, with a small bouquet of flowers on the upper left edge, as could be easily found on any neighborhood wall. In other works, this horse-character is next to another of its own kind; they may overlap, but will always be the same horses with human eyes. Correa insists that this is not a new theme for him. In 2002 he created his “Animales de Carrusel” (Merry-go-round Animals) series and has “consistently worked all this time on the same theme.” Arturo Correa endeavors to depict a central figure that stands out in the foreground of the painting with a creative distribution of lines, color and volume that is unique to his visual universe. We find certain cultural codes behind the horse character and its surroundings; codes that confirm the logic of the trademark this animal represents, a symbol of strength and elegance. This artist is devoted to painted paintings. Linked to the latter is the phenomenon of past memories that become the present, that is, the fusion of memory and imagination, and an expression of imagination becoming an actual fact. His Horse theme is of importance to the extent that it conveys –as a pictorial pretext and an emotional expression- the artist’s experience as a function of his personal reality and the reasons that led him to focus on horses as the leitmotif of a major portion of his work. A rigorous heir of artistic formalism, Correa avails himself of some liberties to play freely with composition: overlapping planes, an apparent directionality of space-defining axes, the arbitrary placement of color, an abhorrence of vacuum and superb combination of detail and virtual movement. His layout of lines and volumes creates a movement that is committed to the explicit visual language on canvas, formal aspects that are complementary. The paintings' gestalt is driven by the central figure, and the rest by the visual metaphors that surround it, some of which come close to the viewer while others drift away: a layout that complicates this pictorial language. Arturo Correa has built a personal artistic code on pictorial practice and theory. A code that is not found in conventional categories of current art, as can be seen when analyzing his series of paintings with three major themes: still nature or flowers, horses and cars. His work deals with the great human problems of the reality of contemporary man. Bélgica Rodríguez - Caracas, April 2011

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