Gema Quiles. Trofeo I, 2024


A year ago, at this time, the Valencian artist Gema Quiles presented a kind of conceptual snack at the Tuesday To Friday Gallery in her city: the exhibition “The basket, the fruit and the hand” had scenes linked to moments of enjoyment and contemplation that, in turn, invited the viewer to stop before the details, exercising their ability to look slowly at ants, rabbits, what is left behind the trees, and also at the traces of their relaxation in nature (tablecloths, snowshoes). . Sometimes, what was perceived encouraged the use of light tones, while others tended towards darkness, and this author's style moved between a calm figuration and the so-called bad painting, a handling of the brush that, in her, has more to do with spontaneity than with the desire to give crudeness to her compositions. The combination of large and small formats brought dynamism to the assembly.

In his latest project, which this week landed at the Galería Herrero de Tejada in Madrid, Quiles returns to nature, but this time, perhaps, from a less hedonistic and simple perspective. In “Towards the Forest, the Storms”, which is the title of this exhibition, it does not seem to propose us watching life pass between the hedges, but rather taking action: in these new oil paintings on canvas, vigorous figures are in apparent struggle, perhaps in the intention to conquer the forest and its fruits, as if they were part of ancestral and historical battles for survival; The format of these compositions is strikingly larger than the rest of those that make up this exhibition: fruit still lifes conceived as trophies, with a symbolic meaning.

Quiles Gem.  The negotiation

Both paintings must be interpreted in relation to each other, and more in dream terms than in literal ones: close-up shots and rectangular arrangements predominate in them, which we will have the feeling that they constrain vigorous characters, or giants, so forceful in their physiognomy. and their movements like sculptures molded in clay into which a life has been infused that could not then be clamped. A rider dressed in blue and another in red may jump from their horses; We know the dynamism of their action but here they are captured in frozen moments, focused on their effort and impassive. In other compositions (The Miser, The Struggle) its members seem to dilute or, in the case of Warrior, merging with the natural environment, as if, despite their supposed strength, their bodies could blur with the rain or the wind. The brushstrokes fall apart, however, although these beings do not stop acting; Its expressiveness, given the absence of gestures, corresponds entirely to color.

“Towards the Forest, the Storms” is Quiles' first solo performance at Herrero de Tejada, the venue with which he participated in the last edition of ESTAMPA, where he won the Aldebarán Collection Award, and despite the transition it implies with respect to his more placid previous works, also responds to his desire to approach nature and the earth – from which, as we said, his very figures seem to have come -, from a personal form of primitive naivety that distances him from the visual proliferation of today. and its tones, at times, distressing. That innocence has to do with the deepening of his own interests when painting, consciously leaving aside dominant currents or artificial references with which he does not identify.

Gema Quiles.  Blue Rider, 2024
Gema Quiles.  Red Rider, 2024
Gema Quiles.  The struggle
Gema Quiles.  The miser

Gema Quiles. “Towards the forest, the storms”


c/ Hermosilla, 49


From April 11 to June 30, 2024

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