“The fresh air and the smell of grass seem to seep into the room.” Such was Guido Maus’ experience with Irene Grau’s uniquely transportive photographic art currently hanging in beta pictoris gallery on Second Avenue North. The artist from Valencia, Spain, brings her own perspective of open-air painting for the first time ever to the United States for the exhibition, ?.
To achieve her images, the artist trekked up mountains, taking with her paintings already completed to the pinnacle, and then fashioning triangles out of pigment to make each mountain that much taller, to capture a photographic representation of art returning to the land that inspired its creation. The avid walker pays homage to the beauty of nature by representing her works mostly void of human influence. The altitudes at which they were taken accompany each of the 12 photographs.
“I paint in order to seek a space, and in this process the painting is integrated into structures simply to show the color — color, nothing else,” Grau wrote. “But that color always extends over a surface, which no longer has to be flat, and ‘that’ which happens between the color and the surface is what for me takes on an essential relevance. That halo that seems to go beyond the support and project itself over some other place. Painting, like walking, is a process of relationship with space.”
Grau, who earned her MFA and BFA at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Palermo in Sicily, was the 2011 recipient of a Ministry of Education FPU Scholarship for PhD Studies. Grau has shown her work internationally in solo exhibitions and group shows since 2008, most recently in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia, Spain; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The title of the exhibit leaves much to the imagination. The stability of the pyramid, its use in ancient architecture is just as important as the simple, black shape.
“? is landscape,” Maus said. “? is painting. ? is a mountain, a peak and its representation.”
? is currently on display at beta pictoris gallery, located at 2411 Second Avenue N., and will run through Dec. 18. Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Fridays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, visit betapictorisgallery.com.