By Rafael Grillo
We are dust with wings that doesn’t obey the wind
we are ephemeral beings and at the same time almost eternal
Jorge Ignacio Nazábal Cowan
There are journeys for the tragic chance, and certain days in which the events come together to bring good fortune. Some days ago, I opened my electronic mail and found a request for a commentary about a book of Cuban sports science fiction short stories for the literary supplement El Tintero from Juventud Rebelde journal. In another email came a voice from the past, Jorge Ignacio Nazábal Cowan, eager to share with me recent news about its painting career. The linking element between both events was that the title page illustration of the book En sus marcas, listos…¡futuro! (On your marks, ready… future!) was made by the same Nazábal.
I summoned him for the following Monday —my fetish day for going to the office— in Caimán Barbudo headquarters. Afterwards, I scan my memory and remembered a place: Poetry House; year: 2002; motive: a personal exposition entitled The wings of dust. From this first encounter with Jorge Ignacio painting I write the critical comment “Simply Nazábal or the Gestalt of the influences”, published then in the digital media Cubahora, and from which I feel tempted to reproduce a fragment:
“From the Catalan genius, Nazábal has eluded the deformations in objects and persons, so dear to his phase absorbed by the Freudian oneirism, to focus in the irrational effect generated by the unusual arrangement of the elements in the paint. He preferably ascribes to the Dali illuminated with the contributions of Gestalt psychology, the one of Galatea de las esferas (Galatea from the spheres), La Venus desaparece (Venus disappears) or De cómo los cisnes se convierten en elefantes, (On how swans becomes elephants) were the author experiments with the laws of visual perception and the field notion (…)
The critic Jacques Meuris has seen in Magritte the irruption of the conceptual art because in the Belgian “the idea precedes the work”. Something similar occurs with Nazábal because there is an intellectual intention which impulse us to mentally structure the apparently unconnected arrangement of the details in the piece or to understand the replacements of one element for another (fruits instead of a woman breast, bats forming a skull) as symbols reflecting a latent content (…)
Is the idea of continuity between the human and the natural and the radical distinction supported at the same time by the building of culture; is the contrast between the alleged eternity of the cosmic order and the transitory character of the human order which explains this tension sustained by the use of emptiness and the predisposition to integrate or disintegrate the figures, recurrent maneuvers in the work of this painter.
Another turn to the clock of my memory and I found that I had to wait until 2007 to meet again with Nazábal and its art. Place: Benito Juárez House Gallery in Old Havana; motive: a collective exposition devoted to the most famous couple of the Mexican painting and named From the skin of Eva, with the eyes of Adán. Nazábal´s painting included there was entitled Homage to Frida and Rivera.
I then realize that my access to the progress in the painter career, resemble a saga composed by discrete chapters each one comprising a cycle of just five years What would I learn next Monday from the 2012 Nazábal ?
Jorge Ignacio graduated from Biology in 1985, and got a title from San Alejandro Academy of Arts in 2000. However, at first glance its physical aspect denounces neither a scientist nor a painter. And he is a quiet man with restrained voice, apparently shy. Nazábal could well pass confounded among anonymous people without let us suspect the richness emerging from its imagination.
This is the way I see him standing in front of me, finally delivering the good news:
—I came to tell you about this award —he shows me a full color cover magazine in which I unmistakable distinguished its art—… and of an exposition in Viena, this April.
I summarize here the information received from Nazábal:
The Society for the Art of the Imagination launched in 2011 an Online International Contest of Portraits and the First Place was given to the Cuban artists, among a list of finalists featuring Brigid Marlin (Great Britain), Michael Fuchs (Austria), Helle Rask Crawford (Denmark), Slavko Krunic (Serbia), among others. The wining painting form Nazábal is entitled When chance finds you.
With headquarters in London and a website visited by more than 67 millions persons, the Society for the Art of the Imagination defines the kind of creations it promotes as followed: ”This art can be named in several ways —Fantastic Realism, Surrealism, Magic Realism, Visionary Art, Cosmic Art —, what it matters is that the work must be inspired neither in the pure abstraction nor in a rigid realism”.
The most outstanding artists participating in the contest were invited to expose their paintings in the centric Londoner gallery Pall Mall, near Trafalgar Square, in November 2011. There Nazábal showed his paintings Point of return II and The echo from the light that one day saw you.
Before that, the Cuban has exhibited its watercolor painting The wings of dust in the cover of the summer issue of Inscape, the magazine published by this Society. The pieces The complot (El complot), Dark butterflies (Mariposas oscuras) and At the eyes of Afternoon (A los ojos de la Tarde) were displayed in the central pages.
The most topical news is that several paintings from Jorge Ignacio will be exposed in another international collective display at the Fantastic Arte Museum in Vienna, between the days 14 and 28 of April. One of them, the drawing entitled The face of wind was selected for the catalog.
Afterwards, during summer, the same exhibition shall be translated to the famous Palais Palffy (the castle in Austria where the child Mozart played for he first time the opera Fígaro).
Nazábal is leaving the office of Caimán, to get mingled among the crowd passing by the doorways in front of Havana Capitolio. And I rested there, imposed with the duty of writing this note, to help getting the readers aware of the rich imagination of this painter. And also wondering if I would have to wait five more years, until 2017 to know again from him…
Taken from: http://www.caimanbarbudo.cu/artes-plasticas/2012/04/retorno-de-nazabal/