Chile | Pintura | Catalina Prado

From a part, to the whole

Catalina Prado has dedicated her life to mixing images that suggest being inside a restricting space, immaculate through art. In it, images are brought together in order to develop a dialogue where a real agent of particulate meaning is revealed as it unfolds and, once they are together, they form a story.

People, animals. Binding crossings between reality and fiction. Environments reproduced based on the color that emphasizes, makes an impact and permeates. Dimensionality, space and location create a dialogue that transcends the mere interior of the piece and is tied together with the series, with continuous and versatile work, that looks into multiple formats and is inspired by different mediums.

Geometry and fiction define the created spaces and the meaning of the story. At the same time, they are part of a figurative celebration that is tangled and untangled in details and motifs that allow the viewer to interpret them. “It is both interesting and fun to see what happens when the viewer approaches to see what the characters are looking at. Each one will see what they want to see,” says the Chilean artist regarding one of her pieces in which the gaze of its protagonists is fixed in one practically indivisible spot, whose composition is provided to be changeable, a paradox.

It all starts with the intent and the color that describes and depicts it on the canvas. The images that will be placed on the scene are provided to form the intent. The images stripped of their context in order to create new stories, to put the spotlight on a different message. Catalina’s work feeds on the possibility of change and providing itself with images and different formats in which conveying a message that fluctuates in the minds of the viewers and opens up space in both her mind and the minds’ of others. “The work should be alive, and that implies adding a good dose of the angst of not knowing if it will work,” she explains regarding the magic where the process begins and later seeks to end up, perhaps, in her or in someone else.

Today, she is working on an exhibition that she decided to make in a small, stretched out format. One of her pieces is made up of three dialogue sections, where each one has a character that looks at a point, located on the main part of the piece. Three locations and only one point of view that is contained right in the main part of the trilogy. It is a small and almost indiscernible spot that the protagonists of the piece admire as much as those who see it. “When someone on the street is standing there looking at a fixed point, everyone that passes starts looking at the place where that person is looking –almost like a reflex–, trying to see what has that person’s attention,” describes the artist regarding this curious aspect of human beings, a concept that she will try to tackle in her next exhibition.

In our perception, we manage to combine feeling and concepts by gathering images superimposed on a work that borders the basics of collage. The task of connecting the loose ends falls on the one that interprets or receives the stimulus through the multiple figures and images and constructs conclusions, thus discovering new thoughts based on that new disposition in them. “The story is assembled when I find diverse images that, for some reason I do not know, get stuck in my mind. It is as if the images found me,” explains Catalina, regarding the chronology of a piece. Later comes the selection process, where they are placed above the dialogue and they start to transfer information and make sense. This is a spatial element within the design, since she acknowledges that the images always arise from something (even though she can’t always identify what that something is) before placing them on the piece. “When I manage to understand what it is that I am doing, I feel a sense of euphoria like no other inside me, and from then on out, there’s just a few finishing touches to finish up,” says the artist.

From her head to the canvas…

Roles of color, the human figure and space…
Color comes first, it is what creates and determines the tone of the story that I am going to tell. Later comes the landscape. I create a scenario that my characters will visit. It is a place where the plot will unfold. Sometimes the scenario acts solely as the backdrop, but other times, I need it to appear as a side note to what the main character believes or thinks.

Relationship between nature and geometry
Geometric elements act in different ways in my work. Sometimes they are just another character. Other times, they serve to guide the gaze toward some specific detail; Also, they serve as a living space for the players. Their mission is infinite and I use it a lot to contrast the more rhythmic and loose brush strokes. I think that these two resources make each other stronger and stand out.

Play between dimensionality and reality
I like to be versatile when it comes to painting. I do huge work and also miniatures; above all, I select formats that can pose a challenge to me regarding creativity and execution. I learn by doing and I stick with the sure bets, parts that I already know how to achieve.

Intervention of fiction in the communication between your work and series…
I am starting to think that I make fiction since I relate to images that, at first glance, have nothing to do with anything, or that have no apparent logic upon being together in a story. Later, if I was alert during the process –and if my muses were with me– when I finish I understand that the images do relate and work as metaphors in the poetics: together they spark a new meaning beyond that which is painted. That happens rarely, but when it happens, I renew my vows as a painter.

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