Rubén Osorio Canales
I sit in the hall of Medicci Gallery to see this new exhibition of Asdrubal Colmenárez and I am nothing but moved. Memory intermittently sends me the log of previous works. My sensibility is pleased with what that exhibit which he called Mare Nostrum, left me, and without any transition, as if an inner vision shook me, it appeared before me one of his paintings of the 90’s, "The Immediate”, a powerful canvas with numbered edges, measuring tapes and an interior, rather than split, open and bare for the eye to poke through it, discovers and tries to build a world, a whole story. If a painter in these aspects of contemporary art invites you to participate in the work, to come into the cracks, to take possession of his corners and read his codes, that is Asdrúbal Colmenárez.
I stay a while playing with his numbers, his letters and those planes full of accurate colors, and everything leads me to the canvases of "Nomad Latency" , with its unique codes emphasizing the conceptualization that, along with the playful and the constant displacement of the nomad constitute the fundamental commandments of his painting. And I ride the memory through that "Voyage" with its lively compasses and successes and I repeat that all this was the necessary platform for Asdrubal, Colmenárez to undertake this new, long, endless journey along a path as old as man.
It could not be otherwise, his compasses were tuned and adjusted as had been his maps and his codes, all these verifications made with the eye of a nomadic poet, the only thing to be done was to begin the long journey making precise turns, weaving by pulse, but with wise urgency, a gigantic stage, long and deep, where walking the long distances of the journey, struck at the same time, by a desire not to arrive so soon or simply not to arrive, that is, in essence, the true significance and rationale of all nomad beings.
Thus, with a suitcase full of magic paraphernalia and a memory rich and dense, Asdrúbal Colmenares began his very personal journey to Ithaca, decided to enter into the eternal soul of Homer, touring every inch of the disturbing story of each character and bring them to our eyes filled with contemporary. Sensual Figures, tangible, standing, or curled up, and woven, drawn, or just incorporated, always as if waiting for the best opportunity to tell us things, to give us a sign and incorporate us to its mission and spirit. It's amazing and I would say magical, the way in which Colmenárez, shuffles his entire arsenal of codes, modes and signs and weaves them into this journey that he performs with strength, clarity and accuracy, juxtaposing characters, lines, numbers, color, material, characters, resulting in an explosion of feelings, of souls that dance in his space, which from their poses and clothes sometimes unusual, demanding our attention, probably to let us see, letter by letter, their poignant stories. Certainly we enter into the history of the characters, (Colmenárez makes this an absolutely unavoidable fact) with them and their pace we move through a denseness that is not unknown to us. Paris, Helen, Ulysses, Circe, Penelope, Telemachus are our peers. With them we go and with them we sing. With Ulysses we stretch the bow and shoot down the suitors of our possessions, with Telemachus we grow and stop being children.
In each painting, and I would say that in all the work of this great artist appears his playfulness, his inexhaustible spirit and his faith in art, the discoveries and freedom. He could find no better theme to walk on the path already walked on, and take off into other dimensions and new areas. In each work there is a new inquiry, new elements, materials worked with his hands and incorporated here and there, so that those who enter into his trip do not get lost easily. It is clear that an artist eminently playful as this one can put in either corner, a sign to make us get lost in the maze, immediately helping us with very precise coordinates that will magically take us to the heart of the matter. The great thing about this is that, guided by his formidable instinct and by his mastery of his performances, he makes us enter and search in every corner of his long History, indeed, he makes us enter into the spirit of the deities, in all supernatural, in landscapes and storms, in spells and the abduction of war, in the bones and the soul of each character, and of course, in the soul of Homer himself. Whatever happens in the essence of every character, every situation is reflected in this work and everything that happens in the life and soul of the hero is embodied in the work. But the quest does not stopped in Ulysses; there are also Paris, Helena, the Cyclops, Circe, and we all. And in that being, we are overwhelmed by the metaphor that Colmenárez wisely hangs on our consciences, to indicate the futility of war and the need to meet and talk in a long dialogue in which each one of us exercises the totally free freedom, non-transferable, non-restrictive.
The greatest asset of man is freedom and that is precisely the theme of this awesome exhibit and the entire artist's work, a joyous freedom, and yet full of strength and of great judgments, where there is no fear to anything or anyone. This is certainly a beautiful Homeric reading by Asdrubal Colmenárez, with a touchingly personal calligraphy.
Seeing this magnificent exhibition, there fell into my memory, slowly, a beautiful poem by Cavafy titled Ithaca, and I remembered how that reading changed my way of seeing the Odyssey, reading Homer, exercising rebellion and also my way of beginning each trip. I have had very similar feelings seeing these paintings of the ODYSSEY by Asdrubal Colmenárez:
"When you undertake the journey to Ithaca / pray that the road is long. / That there are many summer mornings / where, with pleasure, with joy, / you come into harbors never seen before ... Go so you learn from scholars. Arriving to Ithaca is your destination but do not hurry the journey... It's better that it lasts many years / and that old, you get to the island, / rich of everything you've gained on the way."
With contemporary gaze, supported by the vast resources of his constant and diligent personal research, that is the vision that gives us this great artist. He illustrates it with characters of today full of charm and mystery, knowing that deep down these of today, that are all of us in our each day journeys, we no longer count on "with the participation of the gods", to use a happy expression of our always alive Salvador Garmendia...
This personal Odyssey that Asdrúbal Colmenares began, not completed yet, as the exemplary nomad he is, he knows that the only thing he can get from Ithaca, as Cavafy says, is the journey. Surely, we will get together at next station
Rubén Osorio Canales
Venezuelan (1934), Writer and poet with seven books published, also a man of radio, film and television, he was General Director of the National Institute of Culture (INCIBA), Director of Radio Nacional, Vice President of Monte Avila Publishing House, Director of Televisora Nacional, President of Venezolana de Television. For the past five years has written column in the weekly La Razón, which under the title "The Sunday dish," he walks through gastronomy and some stories of citizens. Forthcoming books of poetry, State of Siege and My Friend, My Brother and a collection of reviews under the title The Shared Table, the second volume of his memoirs of The Firebox.