Crave III, 2013. Images courtesy of the artist.
I recently met a fly fisherman who also makes his own flies and nymphs. He showed me boxes and boxes of his creations, some of which are as small as my pinky nail. The flies’ colors and textures vary widely; some imitate insects found in nature and others are flights of fancy, with bold, colorful plumes jutting out. His supply box was filled to the brim with exotic bird feathers and hundreds of spools of pure silk thread. He pulled out two spools of yellow thread and told me that when wet, together they perfectly replicate the color of a specific type of mosquito larvae that is only active for two weeks in October. The fly fisherman reminded me of the painter Luísa Jacinto not only for her effervescent colors and attention to detail, but for her work’s pursuit of something very specific and very elusive.
Sirena, 2015. Images courtesy of the artist.
In popular mythology the sirens sang from ocean cliffs, but according to the Greeks they inhabited a ‘meadow starred with flowers.’ Siren surfaces- flowing hair, waves, seaweed, grass, and flower petals- show up in Ana Manso’s diaphanous and colorful paintings. Like notes in a song, her brushstrokes seem to vibrate and shape shift. In Sirena (Mermaid) (2015), for example, snake-like forms resemble letters, ropes, wisps of smoke, or some kind of innards.
“I know this space is mine; I have this space and I do what I want,” Ana says. Tantalizing flecks of red, blue, and yellow here could be intentional, or they could be drips or points of contact with another works in-progress. Both types of marks point back to her studio as a place of movement, accident, and experiment, where ideas and materials graft onto one another. Ana’s paintings are action-spaces; their springing, improvised choreography records the free and flexible energy inside the studio and the creative mind itself.