Katherine Chacón

Observing the work of Asdrubal Colmenárez that make up this exhibition, we might well be tempted to appreciate the almost hyper-realistic quality of his bill, or by "pop" bias of the formal resolutions or subjects discussed. However, it is interesting and necessary to get into what has been the poetic art of Asdrúbal Colmenárez to understand and enjoy the semantic density of his proposals.

Colmenárez's work is undoubtedly a work of research, this is a proposal based on the investigation of the elements of the aesthetic message. I'm talking about the message, because his research is not formal- it does not involve the formal aspect as the preeminent aspect-, but is mainly addressed to the semantic content of the artistic language and the way they are, in the contemporary world, permeated by countless influences that include concepts-and new concepts-on art.

Another feature of Colmenárez’s work is simultaneity, perhaps derived from his early approaches to surrealism. Through the simultaneity Colmenárez breaks through the linear discourse, merely representative to provide us access to multiple perceptual level, where different ideas come together making the work a mobile entity. No wonder many of his aesthetic aphorisms revolve around the idea of movement, the fleeting and the ephemeral as conditions of a true art of the future.
Colmenárez’s concern is also ethical, given that art is, for him, an important space for reflection, one that goes beyond the anecdotal, the merely formal or indoctrinating.

The works we see today gathered in this exhibition show an aspect that is very important in the artist's career: the transposition of the conceptual elements typical of the poetics of this Venezuelan creator in language- somewhat discredited by the modernity -of figurative painting. For this Asdrúbal Colmenárez uses a technical skill that surely he himself despises.

But make no mistake: Colmenárez’s intention is not gloating in the formal product of the work. The artist works the hyper figure as a decoy that allows us to get into other dimensions of speech only representative in appearance. The artist introduces simultaneity-and distancing- from the "hyper charm" through eminently "plastic" resources as drippings, planes and lines of pure color, color guides, texts, letters, subdivision of the space into grids, real objects hanging before the painting or glued on its surface and representations of these objects that subvert the hyper spatial coherence l. The painting then takes a spatial dynamics that, in some of the pieces presented, makes us remember certain embodiments of the Italian Futurists of the early twentieth century.

The love for the machine was, indeed, an important aspect of the futuristic aesthetic, interested in echoing the industrial dynamism of the emerging modern world. From the machines, the car took a relevant place among the representations of this movement as a symbol of speed and changes in the perceptions of space-time that brought with it modernity.

Automobiles, engines, wheels, headlights and automotive segments are recurring representations in the works that make up this exhibition. But here cars are not used for the beauty of their design nor refer to the efficiency of their performance. They are destroyed and abandoned cars, whose remains lie stacked, incoherently, in a junkyard - and what a more desolate, and inconsistent place, than the "graveyard of the machine," where the opposites speed / quietness; progress / backwardness; life / death, come together in a kind of absurd promiscuity of the object? -.

The works call for reflection by confronting these images with representations of children's toys, also placed in the plane of the painting as three-dimensional objects, all in a plastic space that seeks to emulate – or discover- the tempo of chaos. The toy and its representation, in its simplicity and its obvious emotional load, are confronted with the distressing images of disposed cars. Nature in its most innocent form- childhood-faced with death, violence and absurdity.

The desire for progress seems to be seen here in its futility, facing the incomprehensible vastness of Time: "labors of lost love" of a humanity that bet all to the progress and fell silent in its nonsense, hard tasks of knowledge seeking assurance of an eternal well-being brought by industrialization and technology, now reverted against the very essence of humanism. Colmenárez may also talk to us about the solitude of art, of his art, always self-questioning about his essence, his sense and meanings.

Looking at the works in this exhibition, we understand that the aesthetics of Colmenárez is not indulgent. The multiplicity of the senses and relationships that activates in the spectator grants him a plastic density that is not consistent with the art made to please or ornament. It is a "procedural" work searching in each work a new discovery, an open work that involves the spectator, spurring his intelligence and sensitivity to take them to questionings that cast doubt on their own ethical and aesthetic conceptions.

Katherine Chacón
May, 2000

"Time, in its speed,
changes the course of things,
and often while abandoning us
is when it decides what a
long process could not arbitrate.”
William Shakespeare
Lost Love’s Sorrows

"Artwork is not material;
its essential material is reflective, conceptual.”
Asdrubal Colmenárez
Aesthetic Aphorisms