THE REAL-IMAGINARY JOURNEY OF CORO LÓPEZ-IZQUIERDO
Amalia García Rubí
Coro López-Izquierdo, Madrid 1958, has been engaged in painting for years, an activity that she does alongside lecturing at the Escuela de Arquitectura Técnica de Madrid. She has been responsible for extraordinary paintings, which combine research, lyricism and dexterity, transcending genre art and traditional realism. Testament to this are the works collected in the exhibition by Ansorena, comprised of large oil paintings of urban architecture, various drawings and a selection of small but delicate landscapes, photographed and then painted on metal sheets. Here, woodland motifs are relegated in favour of meditated impression, as if strained and filtered by natural synthesis to create atmospheres and reflections that indicate great perceptive sensitivity.
The dissected city, fragmented into an alternative set of façades and converted into immense paintings by anonymous or well-known street artists, occupies a large part of Coro López-Izquierdo’s themes. The painting within the painting and its subjective insertion, which is also a rational attitude in the face of what is envisaged, enunciate one of the most prolific and bold inventions of her unique personality. Her paintings stem from the work undertaken by fellow artists on the walls, balconies, shutters and doors of old buildings, which the artist finds in the different districts of Madrid, Berlin, Paris and Naples. Her work is conceived as something living, a realm in constant evolution, just like the streets depicted in her work. It is also an interactive space for creating mnemonic associations with the actual place, applying diverse techniques such as oil, photography, collage, pencil drawings and even sculpture and assemblage. The artist performs an intelligent plastic exercise in a state of permanent review, where she can frolic with the visual elements that the city bestows upon the painted image. A certain urban aesthetic typical of mass-media popular culture could sustain the core part of her production. Nevertheless, the warmth of these paintings, the heartfelt emotion they are imbued with and the tenuous sense of openness to the unexpected, distance it from the cold reproductive repertoire of post-modern realism and hyperrealism comprised of advertising boards and neon signs.
“I go on imaginary bike rides or strolls through the cities that interest me. I stop in front of a building that I have previously visited to see how its exterior appearance has transformed, due to both the passing of time and the people that inhabit it or alter it aesthetically”. Coro López-Izquierdo usually explains the creative process behind her work according to the understanding that art is an incessant “deconstructive” analysis (destroy to then build) based on the painting’s controlled diction. The subject–painting is often reclaimed in order to revive certain debased or out-of-date aspects of its physiognomy; it is subjected to a surgical operation that rejuvenates it and brings it up to date. There’s something performance-like about the Madrid-born artist’s recreations and a great deal of virtual seduction and curiosity, which is satiated by capturing what is already in existence. Starting from scratch, the landscapes of the city, the park or the home emerge from the painting themselves onto the canvas’ pristine white surface. After several preparatory phases, the new paintings will gradually be forged over successive days until a beautifully integrated piece takes shape.
Coro López-Izquierdo bases her daily work on the space and time discipline, coordinates that, if you will forgive the obviousness, subject her to her private world. The haven that is our everyday environment seems like a Euclidean metaphor for her life philosophy. The studio where she works is a vast cuboid space with high ceilings and various open spaces, situated at ground level and nestled in the corner of a small, calm, centrally located square in Madrid. “This is my refuge, my place of reflection and dialogue with the paintings that I create”. Inside, everything is in pleasant, relative order, arranged perfectly according to her needs. Upon my arrival, the light din of children shouting from outside lends a poetic Machadian touch. “I nearly always paint in the mornings, I prefer natural light”. Copious warm midday sun shines through windows suitably protected by translucent blinds that simultaneously act as the backdrop for rectilinear shadows. In an almost unconscious association of ideas, I relate this image to the geometry of the spaces that Coro usually paints. On her easel (another large rectangular window), her most recent piece of “stolen architecture” rests, a generously sized painting whose pronounced vertical form is the starting point for the unfurling of a blueprint that ascends with linear accuracy, based on a rectangular module that seems to multiply within concurrent constraints: canvas-façade-door-window-balcony-lintel-cornice. The colours harmonise with the volumes of this multi-storey house, which, presumably, we are not permitted to enter, and give the composition both a realistic and fantastical air all at once. The fresco appearance conferred to the oily pigment washes the wall in a dirty, intense light, nearly all of the canvas occupied by its stony hardness.
Behind each piece created by Coro López-Izquierdo lies arduous preliminary research. However, such complex procedures do not tarnish the inventiveness that characterises her work. Each piece retains a unique way of depicting reality through painting, free from excessive scientific rigidity. Small details that are familiar to us fleck the silent scenes of her paintings with humanity: some scooters parked in front of a doorway, a bicycle leaning o a façade, a lamppost, some plant pots on a balcony, the rhomboid-shaped pattern of the pavement—wonderful “architectural still lifes” whose finishing touch are the murals and graffiti meticulously recreated on well-worn plaster walls by the artist. Everything acquires the mysterious air of a neighbourhood at dawn, the result of an indiscreet glance at the city deprived of noise, yet to be contaminated by the hustle and bustle of daily life. Little by litttle, the painting and ists mixtures emerge, along with the materials, the lights and the silhouettes of an uninhabited reality whose scenes are depicted as the forbidden door to the private world we assume they encompass. A microcosm condemned to suffer its final death rattle as it is gobbled up by that other overwhelming, stimulating and dynamic urban reality, whose strange anachronistic symbiosis with the old, Coro López Izquierdo seems to want to bear witness to in her paintings.
Coro López-Izquierdo (Madrid, 1958) is an architect and artist. She currently works as a professor of Architectural drawing at the Technical building school of the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
She has collaborated on several art exhibitions both collective and individual. Her first solo exhibition was in 1990 in Santander at the art gallery Maria Blanchard. Since then she has done more solo exhibitions such as the ones done at: Peironcely Art Gallery (Madrid: 1991-1993), Kreisler Art Gallery (Madrid, 1995 and 1999), Fréderic Got Fine Art Gallery (Paris, 2000 and 2002), Torreón de Lozoya (Segovia, 1996, 2004 and 2008), Ansorena Fine Art Gallery (Madrid, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2014), Casa de Vacas Pavilion in Parque del Retiro (Madrid, 2011) or La Alhóndiga (Segovia, 2017), among other.
Coro has also participated in numerous collective exhibitions throughout the world, in different countries such as Spain, United Kingdom or United States. Some of the most significant have been in: Durán Art Gallery(Madrid, 1988), the exhibition hall of the Official Architects School of Madrid (Madrid, 1989-1997 and 2016), the Museum of the Royal Houses in Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo, 1995), the Cultural Foundation “MAPFRE Vida” (Madrid, 1997-1998, 2000, 2005-2006), Fréderic Got Fine Art Gallery (Paris and Barbizon: 1999, 2001 and 2003), Alfama Gallery (Madrid, 1999-2010, 2011-2013), Castiglione Gallery (Paris, 2000-2001), Colette Dubois Gallery (Paris, 2005-2006, 2011-2012) and Lucy B. Campbell Fine Art Gallery (2007-2013).
It is worth highlighting with special interest the collective exhibition “Spanish Realism. 50 years”, organized in 2016 by Ansorena Gallery, at the“Sala Baluarte” exhibition hall (at the city hall of Tres Cantos, in Madrid) in which took part prestigious painters such as Antonio López.
Coro has also collaborated with various art galleries, in international art fairs such as: Art Chicago 91 (Chicago: 1991), Arte Santander (Santander, 1993, 1996 and 1998), Art Miami (Miami, 1992 and 2004), Art London (London, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and Art Madrid (Madrid, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
Throughout her career she has received numerous recognitions among which stand out:
- BMW First Price. Painting competition. Madrid, 2015.
- Price for “Outstanding architect of the plastic work”. XI-XII-XIV-XV editions (Madrid, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993).
- LI-LII edition Reina Sofía Painting Price (via Google) of Painting and Sculpture (Madrid, 2016-2017).
- Honor medal at the XXII edition of the BMW Painting competition (Madrid, 2007)
- Selected as a finalist at the XX, XXVI, XXVII and XXIX editions of the BMW Painting competition (Madrid, 2005,2011, 2012 and 2014).
- Honor medal at the XXIV edition of López-Villaseñor Painting competition (2015).
- Second medal at the 81st edition of the Salón de Otoño competition at the Spanish Association of Painters and sculptors (2015).
- Selected art work at the XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XXIV and XXV for the “Premio Penagos de dibujo” Drawing price (Madrid, 1996-2000, 2005-2006).
Coro exposes assiduously her work in cities like Madrid, Segovia, Paris and London and her art works form part of the best art collections in Spain, both public and private.
Coro belongs to the IAC (Contemporary Art Institute), the AEPE (Spanish Association of Painters and sculptors) and she is a collegiate at the Official School of Architects of Madrid.