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The Breathtaking Beauty of Nature
(Deep, Dark, and Still, the Sea as the Origin of Life)
By Edward Rubin
Anemone 2 (2010) Direct Print in Dibond 170cm x 70cm.
No doubt, when William Blake (1757-1827) wrote the immortal words "To see the world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour," he was sending his thoughts into future. And as luck would have it, some two hundred years later, Blake’s very thoughts that everything is connected, and all is one – magically caught and deeply embraced by Madrid-based visionary artist Ruth Peche – has taken root in Deep Entropy the artist’s breathtakingly beautiful, sea creature-featured, suite of underwater artworks organized and curated by HUMA3 at the Fundacion Pons in Madrid (May 17 – June 1, 2012).
Peche, a bit of a scientist in her approach, always searching for the answers to life, and hoping to understanding of the workings of the world, sees nature as "the greatest source of creativity." In her earlier work, she systematically explores the ever-changing structures and patterns of nature and its god-like effect on rock formation, trees, leaves, and water, all of which play a much larger part in our everyday lives than we normally notice or give credit to. Deep Entropy comprised of light boxes, manipulated photographs, and an otherworldly undersea video, is the most emotionally affecting of her various series. Here, the artist, playing with the same patterns and structures found in nature, returns us to the sea, the origin of life on earth.
Anemone 9 (2011-12) Direct print on Dibond 100cm x 100cm.
Like the act of birthing – the stork doesn’t just deliver the baby – Peche’s underwater inspired journey, from impregnation of first thoughts to the birth of her final works, is a long hard haul. It all starts with the Peche, Fuji Fine Fix camera in hand, diving into the sea – one of her favorites being the Mediterranean waters off the coast of Menorca – to photograph living aquatic forms whose vivid shapes and textures appeal to her sensibilities. And then, like Rapunzel spinning straw into gold, Peche is back at her studio computer feverishly manipulating her initial photographs — the result being, after much digital, cutting and pasting, cloning, duplicating, adding and subtracting, a series of newly minted works of astonishing in their originality.
Deep 6 (2009-2012) Direct Print in Dibond 150cm x 50cm.
Situated on two floors, Deep Entropy begins on the lower level with an underwater video-sound installation showing the bottom of the sea, the source of Peche's inspiration. Here we are treated to highly atmospheric undersea shots filmed off the coast of Menorca, the Red Sea in Israel, and Dubrovnik, Croatia, all favorite haunts of the artist. The rooms that follow are dedicated to some half dozen plus of Peche’s lDibond printed undersea images. In the beautifully poetic Anemone 2 (2010), we are invited to participate in what seems to be a private dialogue between two beautiful and delicate invented sea-flora. In the Zen-like Anemona 9 (2011-12), which resembles pressed flowers, the artist is seen playing with the digitally manipulated forms in terms of dualism, as originally conceived by oriental philosophy: one can't exist without the other, and none of them exist at all.
Coral 1 (2011-12) Light Box Led system printed on textile 50cm x
Deep 6, (2009-12) Peche, playing with the movement of the sand and waves in a soothing way, has created her version of the bottom of the sea, again capturing, as Zen philosophy says, the sense of "what is above is below." Holding this thought in mind and going upstairs, the second floor reveals itself as a hidden treasure, a royal guardian of seven, truly eye-catching light boxes presented all together in a room specially set to host them. There, in dim light, with the sound of the sea, effects specifically designed by Huma3 to create an undersea experience akin to the artist’s own diving experiences, are eight captivating light boxes, each magnifying one or more seabed creatures. Placed on a black background, like Coral 1 (2011-12) and Anemone 5 (2009-10) for example, each astonishingly beautiful creature seem to be looking at us as we look at them.
Anemone 5 (2009-10) Light Box Led system printed on textile
60cm x 60cm.
What separates Peche’s images from the mundane is her architecturally accomplished eye – she knows how to construct mesmerizing images – as well as her finesse at the computer. Her ability to create atmosphere, the illusion of depth, and the actual feel of water in what is essentially two-dimensional work, most evident in her seabed works, is uncanny. Another of the artist’s trademarks is her effective use of minimal color, as well as the color black, both of which the artist uses in tandem to bring her subjects front and center, and alive. The effect being that the sitters in her sepia tinted, anemone and coral portraits, just as she first found them on the floor of the sea, appear to be alive and breathing. Such is spell that Peche weaves into her work.
The solo exhibition, "Deep Entropy" appeared at the Fundacion Pons in Madrid.
Host Venue: www.fundacionpons.com
Edward Rubin is a writer and critic living in New York City. His articles and reviews have appeared in ARTnews, New Art Examiner, www.manhattanarts.com, Hispanic Outlook, www.nytheatre-wire.com and Theatre Week. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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