By Katherine Chacón
The long night. The sound of the water says what I think.
The recent work of Toña Vegas gathered in “Energy Matters” seems to be guided by and to propitiate an ineffable knowledge. The patient and methodical contemplation of nature that the artist has carried out as part of her existential experience has led her to understand the hidden essence shared by everything—the breath of cosmic life that is energy. In the pieces displayed, she transfers that energy by registering their tracings or by picturing their waves and effluvia.
In the contemporary critical perspective, rooted in the western philosophical tradition, the fact that art produces a diverse mode of knowledge—in which forms and images involving both the spectator and the artist access a subtle understanding of reality and a special awareness of the world—is often left aside.
Following this idea, “Energy Matters” is presented as a sensitive lesson that suggests the great mystery of who and what we are—part of a nature that contains us, part of a cosmos that inhabits us, and part of an energy that transforms and continues towards infinity temporal space.
In the works of the Shizen and Scripture series, the “silent writings” of the sea, the surfaces of rocks, the bark and leaves of trees, or the shapes of clouds—“unveiled” by subjecting photographs of these elements to a high contrasting technique—have been transcribed into perforations on black-painted paper or, as in Traces, into the “positive” silhouettes of its contours. The Energy Matters series comprises paintings executed by Vegas using her fingers; this allows her to materialize her own energy pictorially. In the process, guided by her senses and intuition, energy appears simultaneously as structure and vibration in layers that overlap and interweave, creating a complex and deep space. These pieces are also traces, vestiges of an energy that is transformed into lines and stains, of a continuous flow suggesting skins of animals, leaves fluttering in a breeze, the wall of an old cave, or a burning emotion.
The nature of some works of art could be related to Eastern philosophical practices which incorporate subjectivity and non-explicit notions as parts of the knowledge process. As in Taoism—where the teacher does not teach what he knows as something that he possesses and transmits rationally and objectively—the work of Toña Vegas communicates knowledge in a poetic way, through “brushstrokes of meaning” that trigger understanding. This process assumes the relativity of the cognitive experience and, subsequently, the immeasurability of any notion of reality.
Translation: Jim Peele
Cover photo: Artist Toña Vegas by @pedrowazzan