Jorge Ivan Restrepo

Bogota, Columbia

Usually when I “get into the canvas,” I resume the relations with light and color that I have had during the previous hours of painting. This occurs in a deep and long flow stage, which happens to me at the end of the day or at sunrise.

The language I use is geometric. It comes from extensive study I did of the work of the Dutch group De Stijl. Piet Mondrian and his group worked with the process of simplification of form and color. Mondrian once said, “The tragedy of life and art can only be reduced by the pure depiction of the elements and the balance of the proportions between them.” I moved from their work to my own by going in a very different direction, restoring things which they had avoided. I use many colors, while they preferred the primaries, red, yellow, and blue, plus black and white. They preferred a clear composition of forms; I use a multitude of small squares or other repeating shapes with an overlapping of forms and the suggestion of movement. Currently, to create more complexity, I am involving other people in the process of painting my canvases–once, an old gardener, the other day, a group of women.

Carlos Lanza, art critic and curator (Honduras, 2004), writes about my work, “… the color acquires density as a result of layering when Restrepo carries out an additive operation over a geometric composition. This process enables him to create an effect of a reversible background, where a tone can be simultaneously background and first plane, thereby creating a feeling of depth in a planimetric space.” When I create a painting, the first step is to create a simple composition of discrete colored shapes. Next, I impose “slides” of color over them, complexly layered, sometimes playing with transparency and other times using metallic colors.

I continue to examine the opposition between order and disorder, obedience and disobedience. As Marta Giraldo, a Colombian historian, writes, “His compositions, which achieve a balance between chaos and order, present us the pure relationships between the color and the idea.”

Several squares fall in my paintings … as pixels falling … colors playing as part of a textile … or just as a group of objects and sensations stimulating the mind of the observer.

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