Maria Lago: International Painter / Sculptor
30 Year Retrospective
Beacon, New York
Think of entering Maria Lago’s retrospective as boarding a ship under sail where unpredictable breezes carry you over 30 years of history from painting to painting, sculpture to sculpture, each with its individual scent & accent, contour, tint & hue. Relish this time & enjoy. It’s an adventure any guest, naïve or enlightened will not easily forget.
Maria Lago, with her natural grace & statuesque presence, is a beautiful woman, as ‘at home’ on the seashore or in the ranging mountains of her youth in Asturias, Spain as she is in the art-centered enclaves of New York City. But, it’s in Beacon, New York where her artist’s imagination & vitality truly shines, where her Main Street studio bristles with her energetic explorations in paint & plaster, epoxy, wood & cloth, all of which is presented to us in this comprehensive retrospective. Thirty years, for an artist as dedicated & prolific as Maria Lago, represents more than a lifetime when measured against the output of most of her contemporaries. As we engage her art our eyes can’t focus fast enough, skimming her deeply textured landscapes gouged with finger, fist & palette knife, the dazzling array of colors that transport us across the spectrum: In the beginning there was ochre, black & grey, today there are purples, blues & muted magenta, wine, rust, turquoise & poppy red & green.
Maria’s unrelenting inventions transport us to a world without boundaries, studies & themes that insist on challenging the conventional. Each with the uncanny ability to tantalize our curiosity, shake-up our often inhibited imagination: Sandals, teeth, bone & fragments of the mundane squished & squashed & scattered across canvases as if they were the relics or ruins from our fractured dreams – Explorations of the valleys, crags & mountains of the Cosmic Spheres that ‘float’ in complete accord with their universal harmonies – Her Gnarled Pathways through mud or snow weaving their singular way to ‘who knows where?’ – Birches in their sparse but steady stance mark the seasons & reinforce our perception of natural durability – Her bold & textured Tiki Heads: repositories of our sacred spirits? Homage to the mysterious bounty found on Easter Island – & of course, The Wanderers (from her Exodus series) appearing first on canvas & eventually sculpted in crude plaster renderings, elongated figures, pale & alone or in series where their vulnerability is even more pronounced.
Through it all Maria is fearless. Each new creative investigation seems to ignite a willingness, No, a need to go further & then, even further – to another vision & then another. Her latest, The Amazons ‘unleashed,’ binds, together & apart, a progression of small, cloaked, secretive figures unique in their individual attitudes & colors, each bearing an artist’s brush with which to decorate their world, or might they be spears, meant to tease the viewer into emotional combat?
To encounter Maria Lago’s world expands & enhances our vision of our own. Like poems, Maria’s paintings & sculptures can be read over & over – always in flux, always challenging, their impulse & impression changing as we change. These works of art are expressionistic metaphors bent on discovering the pulse & dimension of the spiritual as well as the secular. But, best of all, they are meant to bring pleasure to the viewer & without question they most certainly do. Roger Aplon 6/2017