Structures: Snapping the lines of Geometric Abstraction
by Lucy de la Vega
“Structures” is not an architectural photography exhibition per se, or at least not understood as having Architecture pose as a portrait subject matter in the show. Although heavily relying on Architecture, “Structures” explores the limits found within architectural lines to define Geometric Abstraction in Photography..
In general, when one thinks about Geometric Abstraction, we believe in the need for non-representational result devoided of any tie towards reality and pushing towards the purest essence of what is considered by form and color, or so has Modernism taught us. However contradictory the link between photography and abstraction may be, Architecture is the show’s missing connection
De la Vega (Havana, Cuba, 1955) is a self-taught photographer that has explored at will and for the past four decades her snapping passion. Although she embraces the digital age and is grateful for the freedom that technology and digital photography has brought to the scene, she remains quite conservative on her artistic process. The artist considers each photograph taken as a once-in-a-lifetime frame, like in the film epoch she tells us: “Each detail has to be carefully thought of beforehand and I frame each photograph as if I only had one chance to get it right.”
The artist solely uses her digital camera to create the outcome you will see in this solo show. No editing, special effects or accessories were utilized. The exhibit’s photographs are simply the result of the artist’s intuitive virtuosity. The digital image is printed on photographic paper without any enhancements.
As an artistic photographer with an emerging professional career, De la Vega has a powerful instinct guiding her creative process. She has a special sensibility towards materials, shapes and angles. An outcome that stems not only from her personal experience, but also from her travels around the world. Her work is devoted to the insatiable quest for new perspectives, that is, the meaning within the meaning.
American Architecture, in general, greatly influenced by the International Style of Modern Architecture movement transformed the design paradigm and broke clean of previous trends. Although greatly utilitarian and minimalist in its vision, the International Style brought the same avant-garde to Architecture that Abstraction brought to Visual Arts.
Their origins are embedded together and can be traced back to the Bauhaus School. With a media like Photography, we link together parallel movements that restructured the course of history: they shaped Modernism, both in Architecture and Visual Arts. Notwithstanding, we would have never been able to do so without personally viewing the work of De la Vega and her unique perspectives on Photography.
De la Vega’s photographs are carefully captured for a deliberate concept or meaning. She plays with the title of her photographs to shake the viewer’s first impression, agitate its thought-process and ensure that a profound imprint is left on their mind.
Hence, we begin our journey among rectangles, squares, triangles and undefined geometric forms. De la Vega’s eye takes us back to a time where commercial photography didn’t predominate. Her photographs are not random, yet they don’t feel staged: they provide the unforeseen perspective. Some architectural motifs are evident in her work, but they do not portray architecture as a subject, but as an additional element to achieve a particular composition, in the case of this show, a geometric one. This can be seen in photographs such as “Out in the Blue,” “Reaching” and in “Peaking Edges.”
Some of these forms are meant to be perpetuated into infinite repetition like in the case of “Continuum” or “Unaligned.” As we know, exact replica of forms as long been a premise of the Geometric Abstract movement. Nevertheless, other works, such as “Seeing the light” or “Opening” can be more closely linked with the minimalist movement, onto which Geometric Abstraction exerted an enormous influence.
Some of De la Vega’s photographs maintain the generalized purist approach that seeks what is fundamental to materials and composition. This can be evidently observed in “Light Play” or “Openings on Blue.” Furthermore, works like “Interference,” “See through” and “Surfaces & Blues” are an example of how important the exploration of materials is to De la Vega’s photography. The significance of which goes beyond this show and its geometric compositions. For “Structures,” we included photographs that were precisely rooted to materials such as metal, glass and concrete; all of which are unmistakably characteristic of the International Style of Modern Architecture.
It is with great pleasure that we bring this exhibition to the public after a careful and very dedicated selection process. “Structures” intends to renew the vision of what is already known and established in diverse movements by combining these tendencies through a fresh perspective: De la Vega’s eyes.