Katherine Chacón

A theme, the flowers, it is just an excuse for Diego Barboza to get us closer to two important dimensions of his work. The first one refers to the act of painting, an action that for the artists is primarily associated to painting itself, it means, the problem- or the taste- to compose the painting. This, that might seems obvious, is a decisive starting point for understanding the particular nature of the works gathered in this exhibition, where the subject of flowers has a lot of the veiled drama that characterized the vanities.

The space of the painting remains one the problems that haunt Barboza who always seeks to dismantle the logic of real space from the establishment of impossible and absurd relations between the represented objects and the picture planes. However, in recent years this almost picaresque gesture has suffered a dramatic turn. Works as Hibiscus, Between Two Forests or Interior Jungle, present in this exhibition attest to that.

Most of these compositions face the “slight realism” of the floral elements to a background almost indefinable of “beams” that separates the “quietly bourgeois” space from the floral composition of a recognizable environment. These beams- that come from the representation that the artist makes of the roof of his workshop made of grooved plates-crossing one another to form a grid that serves as background to the composition and, in turn, acts as a prelude to emptiness, to black. Barboza uses this absurd space to accentuate the disturbing and tense atmosphere of the painting: in some works he brings this background to the foreground, in others he places “floating” elements not settled in the space of the composition to highlight the unreality of what is represented.

This brings us to another dimension of Barboza’s work: nostalgia, the field of memories and memory. Pastel seems to be the ideal material for these works, as the artist applies pigments with an unusual intensity to the technique, giving the painting a velvety quality and blurry.

But while this attachment to images of the past has been constant throughout the works of Diego, it is interesting to note the dramatic tension that he has been acquiring in his last works, thanks to the treatment of space of the painting, the use of pastel, the general darkening of the shades, and the application of black as background that refers to emptiness.

In the present case, flowers and other objects- baskets, figurines, fruits- involved in the “composition” become a significant load associated more to the depth that brings awareness of the futility of existence than to memory.

Flowers, in their delicate and fragile beauty, in their innocent and temporary colorfulness , are perhaps the elements of nature that allow us to more accurately reflect on what is now and tomorrow will not be, the passing of time and what it takes with it, the inexorable reality of birth and death.


Caracas, Venezuela
May 2001