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Two Perspectives on Spanish Painter Ignacio Navarro

Jesús Troncoso and Rafael Cabrerra share their views on the artwork of a Spanish painter.

By Jesús Troncoso, Ph.D., writer and art critic

As a writer and art critic, it is an honor for me to write about the painter and ceramicist don Ignacio Navarro Holgado.

Ignacio Navarro is a fine and creative Andalucian artist with a profound and refined sensibility. He has found his own unique artistic style through drawing. We can call it "fantastic realism." He shows the same talent for detail as the expressionists. In his work we see magic, forcefulness, and a richness of imagination rather like fairy tales written in poetry, like the Proustian search for the purest childhood dreams and, perhaps also childhood memories - many frustrated memories - from the realm of fantasy.

In Navarro-the-Cordoban's universe the fantastic, the poetic, the critical - as a medium of the anthropological and philosophical - serve as the warp through which are woven the technical elements of color, composition, drawing, and plastic material. These are then fused with his ancestral Califal and Andalucian wisdom.

His experimentation with technique and process (oil, drawing, water color, engraving, painted ceramic, etc.), his psychology as tireless wanderer, his artistic subjectivity, his use of art as liberation, his never-failing vitality, the control over his work, and an ample intelligence constitute the characteristics of Navarro's painting. He is able to summon it all to the task in his creative (and experimental) moments.

(Translated from the Spanish by Constance Ashton Myers)

By Rafael Cabrerra, writer and painter

Ignacio Navarro, like all genuine artists, builds his syntax taking his experience as point of departure. Experience that, in this case, is that of the lonely sailor surviving a spiritual death and whose need for expression originates in the deep inquisition practised upon his soul by the different institutions: the Church, the State, the Capital, the jet-set... Just one allegory, always the same one, reproducing itself unceasingly, as a thousand-headed Hydra, in a stage where death and resurrection turn up in an auto-da-fé, in a programmed image of the Last Judgement, as in the Apocalypse by Beato de Liébana.

But beyond that sorrowful carnival--as in Ensor--there appears the mere need for expression, as an elixir which gives health, purity and renders the artist´s tortured soul to its original state. Maybe behind all that iconography--that deliberate and inevitable use of "those mjyor symbols of the Spanish tragedy," that criticism of the Establishment, so sympathetic and merciless at the same time--there exists a profound need for transcendence, for a spritualism always denied, time after time, by glances and silence. At the same time, it shows the horror that takes in the heart of the churches, the souls of the faithful stripped off the sacred, spirituality and beauty.

All uncovering, all description implies a commitment with what we hold to be true and real. For that reason, the implicit moral criticism in the figures that constitute Ignacio´s allegory is born of the need to build and create a space where the soul may transcend, free from the tyranny of those expressions that coerce and aggress it unremittingly. The sense of that uncovering has also to do with an inner purification. The pure and unrestricted human being, who is aware of the good that goes along being in control of his own destiny, rebels against the coertion that the instituions and the powers try to impose upon him by means of expressions, words and ideas. And he claims as of right, free expression, inspiration, the actual moment which is taking place. The artist, in this case, wants above all to live in the real world and for that reason exorcises the ghosts that attempt to avoid it by invading his conscience and affecting his sensibility. It is for that reason that he needs to reject them in an act of creation, exorcise them with vigorous lines and brush-strokes telling what words cannot suggest.

(Translated by Dr. Luis Costa, Lecturer in English and American Literature, University of Cordoba)

View Ignacio Navarro's work at

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