De Amaral explores and revisits ideas, techniques, and processes, looking for subtle and intricate variations within her own artistic process. She is an important figure among a globally dispersed group of artists who are deconstructing and rethinking the structure, surface, and support of painting by adding sculptural dimensions and atypical materials.
At first categorised as two dimensional, representational wall hangings, in the late s her works entered the genres of sculpture , installation , abstract and conceptual art. The artist has developed a distinct voice in her field through her command of conventional techniques for constructing textile objects while progressively pushing the boundaries of orthodox understanding of how textiles work as objects in space. She has gradually moved fabric-based works beyond the category of woven tapestry - one that privileges flatness, adherence to the wall, pictorials, and an obsession with the organic and the physical properties of materials - into a more conceptual practice that embraces strategies otherwise found in painting , sculpture , and architecture.
Her tapestries are nothing less than meditations on the illusive nature of meaning. As I get to know it better, the better it knows me. In briefer words, it has never stopped arousing my curiosity. Fiber is like an old pencil: one has used it for so long that you take it for granted. I am made of fiber because I have embraced it and because I know it". From the geometric designs of medieval cosmological diagrams to the grids of Mondrian , harmonious symmetry of form has alluded to and partaken of perfection and the absolute. As Amparo Osorio pointed out, "much of poetry The early period of de Amaral's oeuvre is characterised by visually relatively traditional tapestries, but already presenting the search for an individual language through formal experimentations.
Since the mid60s, she worked mostly with hand-spun wool, cotton, linen, and dyes. Vivid colors and bold combinations and the exploration of the structure and edges of weaving characterize some of her small scale early work of this period. The geometric conception and composition of these works reveal a profound awareness and understanding of the modern artistic tendencies of the time, bringing to mind the De Stijl abstraction current among others.
It was the first solo show by Olga de Amaral outside her native country. In Olga presented her work for the first time at the prominent Lausanne Biennale in France , the first out of six later appearances at that event. This was the importance of that exhibition - it addressed the transformations in the medium of fiber art , noted differences between the continents and anticipated the experimentation to come. In the late 60's, with the creation of the piece Entrelazado en naranja, gris, multicolor , de Amaral eventually "exploded the picture plane from inside out".
The full form or volume stressed in the composition of the pieces from this period, make them look almost like thread sculptures. However, after this period of pushing the art of weaving to its boundaries, in the next decade, the issue of the flat surface will emerge again in de Amaral's art. Olga's massive hangings called Muros tejidos Woven Walls , solid bulwarks built from stiff wool and horsehair , debuted at a solo exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York in It reflected the era's revolutionary fiber sculpture, particularly its tendency towards monumentality.
And it was then that I realised that it was not the weaving, but the visual quality that now mattered in my creations. From the onset, there has been a distinct sense in her work that it could, and did, embody important ideas and reflections of an existential and historical character".
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The Walls was the first series where the artist started to take more risks that led her to break with predictable geometric patterns and replace them by rhythms that for the first time engaged the eye into the work. During her stay in Paris in the early s, living in small spaces, Olga created a series of small pieces entitled Complete Fragments In this series the artist used gold for the first time, playing and experimenting with it. She also started to paint fibres with acrylic paint and gesso to obtain colors directly on the finished woven piece in order to dissolve the geometry imposed by the rigid structure of warp and weft.
These poetic sketches were shown at the Rivolta Gallery in Lausanne , Switzerland. This technical innovation gave the artist much more freedom with the final surfaces of the works than the color-dyed fibres.
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It also moved her tapestries from the "crafts" to the "fine-arts" category. Color helps me to distance myself from the surface to add different meanings to the tapestry. The title of the series refers to the stones used for building. The series includes the works Vestiduras de Calicanto , Paredes de Calicanto and Paisajes de calicanto and has been started in The pieces in this series are larger weavings in grass, light earth tones and sandy hues.
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This period is characterized by enthusiastic experimentation and the introduction of new materials. During her visit to Japan for an exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto , de Amaral begins to explore the use of gold and gesso inspired by Kintsugi , the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold.
- Olga de Amaral.
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Her exploration of gold as a material and as a color begins. She also continues to explore the possibilities of structure. Light and air filtering through woven constructions become major players. The title of this series alludes to cliffs. As all things are filled with my soulyou emerge from the things, filled with my soul. You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,and you are like the word Melancholy.
I like for you to be still, and you seem far away. It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove. And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:Let me come to be still in your silence.
And let me talk to you with your silencethat is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring. You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations. Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid. En las noches como esta la tuve entre mis brazos. Pensar que no la tengo.
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Sentir que la he perdido. Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta.
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A lo lejos. Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido. Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca. Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos. De otro. Como antes de mis besos. Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos. Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido. Porque en noches como esta la tuve entre mis brazos, mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido. Write, for example, "The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
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