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Ricardo Pau-Llosa (english)

By Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Abstraction in the twentieth century has become associated with a variety of reductions whose aim was to remove unnecessary references from visual discourse.
At best, reference was seen as clutter; at worst, as a menace to visual truth. The platonic aesthetics of reduction, central to modernism, have continued in the postmodernism idiom--reverence (I.e. enshrinement of premises ) by defiance. The abstract, a term by now thoroughly tattered, -Still haunts its euphemistic heirs, regardless of their deconstructionist pedigrees. Modernist, platonic abstraction remains the ghost which moves behind the ultimate postmodernism reduction--hat of stile, that of the artist proper As long as innovation continues to be judged by implicit or explicit reductivist strategies, we will be in the orbit of cubists, formalists and constructivists.
Perhaps not a bad orbit to be in, alter all. Eva Jawerbaum's art, at first glance, seems to be exquisitely comfortable with traveling along that orbit. On initial approach to her works, we seem to be in the presence of a cerebral hedonist who has reconciled the formalist]s interest in the action of shapes and colors with the sensualist's lust for surface. These initial findings, though not misguided, may keep us from observing something much more important about this artist's work, and that has to do with the genesis of what might otherwise be labeled "abstract" in her work.
Abstraction in Jawerbaum emerges. It is part off a process by which two processes--conception and execution—become one and not just contrapuntal. As a master of genera mixta, Jawerbaum brings together aspects of painting and assemblage under the aegis diverse printmaking techniques. Each of her works is a one-of-a-kind, but they are not monotypes. They are intensely crafted works in (as opposed to "on " ) paper which emerge from tier direct action upon the materials. Printing techniques here are truly an instrument of a personal creative process.
Jawerbaum's work's emerge from this one process which fuses two other process—conception and execution. For all the rhetoric of action and matter-as-image, non-referential art (say of the abstract-expressionist variety) is still referential. If nothing else, it resembles (or parodies) music's ability to evoke, or perhaps recreate, emotionally charged intuitive states of awareness.
At time the modernist lyrical-abstract work has been charged with the job of transmitting the artist's presumed intuitive state to the viewer, which reduces the work to a kind of emotion-stimulating code. Even this is nobler than pondering the work as a mystical confrontation with pigment-as-sole-image or with the fiction of painting qua action, as if either reduction were truly profound.
In the lyrical-abstract mode, whether the referent is found within the artist o within some universal menu of intuitions, it is safe to affirm one thing: evocation may be oblique or timid reference, but it is still reference. For all the beauty and emotional of Jawerbaum's work, there is no intuitive referentiallity in it, no pretense of passing the torch of unspoken awareness. The emotional realm that emanates clearly from Jawerbaum's works comes from a genuine quieting of the artist as oracular or demiurgical personality and allowing the creative process itself to reveal its proper and natural orientation toward personality--the artist as well as that of the viewer.
It is the building up of texture, the almost sculptural intimacy of this artist with the matter and process of creation, which liberates her work from the lyrical-abstract and its reductivist traps. Which is to say, this process of building up and emergence is what makes Jawerbaum's work powerful. There is no small degree of irony in the fact that intimacy with surface and matter should be what liberates her work from reduction and the fantasies of intuitive transmission.
The irony is deliciously augmented when we consider the importance of the various printmaking techniques Jawerbaum employs, and further irony in knowing she produces singular piece with these techniques.
The printmaking techniques recall the pressures of earth on Stone and organic matter, the brute machinery of nature. Abstraction emerges in Jawerbaum, which is to say it is part of the process itself. This sense of emergence recalls Aristotelian organicism, by which unity and compact relevance become the criteria, for beauty and meaningfulness. It also recalls Jungian and post-Jungian analyses of gendering in poetic action. Reduction Is clearly Apollonian and springs from the male principle. Emergence, organic unity, fusion of conception and execution fall within the realm of the Dionysian and the female principle. This is not to let the lyrical in the through the back door.
Jawerbaum's work is rich in emotional and visual resonances, but these are not linked to either a cult of the artistic personality as referential oracle, nor to the cult of human action over passive matter. Both these cults are linked to lyrical-reductivist modernism and, by premise-enshrining defiance, to the Babel of postmodernism with its affected lack of skill, its pompous relish of triviality and the ephemeral, its posed derision of beauty, its calculated obscurity, and the masking of its ignorance of ideas through the purposely clumsy appropriation of tangled references.
The emotional charge of Jawerbaum's works, like her abstraction, emerges. It presents itself as an indistinguishable, elegant, organic part of the presence and process of the work.
We see no scars of something torn away by reductivist purity. On the contrary we see expansion and inclusion of subtle, deep references to the fundamentals of consciousness. The textures, not to mention the scroll-like dimensions of some of her works, also evoke the action of time in ways: which coalesce the personal temporality of the artist (through the process which produced these works) and time on a broad, universal and conceptual scale.
Time writes, paints, carves, and composes. Its marking, are not a language: while they are not random, they are essentially unpredictable.
Its marking emerge, and somehow they communicate presence, the presence of what has passed. This is the emotional core of Jawerbaum's work, linked to the way time speaks to us, in the creative process, in the adventure of living, in the solemn contemplation of our finite condition, and in the clinging to the power to create things of beauty as an affirmation of our dignity.


Ricardo Pau-Llosa (2009)


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