One hundred and forty eight

Salt sobre blanc

c2000 by Magí Puig
Temp Exhibition at Sala Parés, Barcelona

Puig’s latest exhibition in Barcelona was an intriguing display of colour play, paintings that were not only defined by their colouration but colour itself seemed to absorb the design rather than the other way round. The paintings were scenes warm with travel and exploration — a panning of beach, the view looking up a river framed, women kneeling among piles of exotic produce in vast markets and so on. In all these images it is the absorbing colour of background that encompasses the paintings; in the riverboat scenes the river’s green curls up around the boats, a red sea dominates the people that pepper it; block colour commands composition. Salt sobre blanc (Salt on white) is perhaps an epitome of this way of working; all is left to the depth of colour that makes up the background, which is somehow is saved any monotony with its intensity of colour and ability to evoke atmosphere. For in this seemingly uninteresting colour is light, warmth and movement; it spreads past the edges of the canvas, in no way confined, giving us the sense that this absorbing expanse would carry on and on. It holds the jumping child, suspended him, his split-second movement held with the clarity of the perfectly cast shadow. The colour plays on the child’s skin, reflecting the light and heat of the day, encompassing him into the palette of the atmosphere that surrounds. Puig’s poignance relies on the cleverness of his focus on articulation; beautiful figurative painting is made more evocative with its expressive fluidity in comparison to flat but perfectly toned colour.

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