Morela Avilán (1956), is a Venezuelan artist who has lived in Miami since 2017. She has shared her artistic activity with her profession, civil engineering, a career from which she graduated in 1983 from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas. Although civil engineering is a scientific and technical profession, those theoretical and practical knowledge correspond to calculation, mechanics, hydraulics and physics, this profession, like architecture, is closely related to art, since the civil engineer is usually sensitive, imaginative, and creative, characteristics that allow them to give aesthetics to their designs and infrastructures, which in the end, we can say, end up being great sculptures, installations, or artistic settings. In fact, Avilán comments that in this profession she sees a poetics involved in the concept, the design, the plans, the description, even in the construction materials themselves.
Curiously, when seeing her pictorial work, one is surprised that the artist, due to the profile of her profession, has not oriented her work along the path of geometric abstraction, constructivism or neoplasticism, for example, movements that are aesthetically closely related with engineering and architecture. But Avilán clarifies that seeking to move away from the context of accuracy, of technical, academic, rational drawing, of faithful reproduction, and inspired by the theory of chaos (the confused and unpredictable), in 1984 she decided to take free art courses, phase in which she meets the Venezuelan artists Víctor Hugo Irazábal and Pedro Terán, who allow her to flow freely in her creation process, and from that moment on she gives free rein to her arm, like the chaotic pendulum, although in her creative process she has been controlling her impetuous ease, according to the ideas or concepts that have nurtured her visual poetics.
Formally, Avilán began painting in the 1990s, and in 1999 she held her first individual exhibition, "Expresiones del signo", influenced by her teacher Víctor Hugo Irazábal, whose theme revolves around ancestral symbols, where we note that she adopts the style of lyrical abstraction, a tendency of abstract painting that began in 1910 with Kandinsky -author of "Concerning the Spiritual in Art"-, where the artist's self prevails, their feelings, emotions and subjective thoughts, who, in addition, resists to represent reality objectively, in whose “chaotic” and dynamic compositions, the stain, the gestural line and the strong, pure, contrasting color predominate. Based on this lyrical aspect, in 2007 she exhibited her other series entitled "Zahorí", a word that means "person who has the power to discover what is hidden", just what the artist proposes through her work, to unravel the enigma of nature. Her interest in the mystical, in the spiritual communion of the human being with “nature as an enigma”, has inspired her to develop her visual work, as can be seen throughout her career.
The artist enters into nature, into vegetation. She observes the natural environment in such a detailed way, so profoundly, as seen through a microscope, that she internalizes it and transfigures it into interior landscapes. She doesn’t want to represent the reality of nature in an objective, descriptive or narrative way, but rather to show its essence and express states of mind, feelings, emotions, and arouse in the viewer aesthetic pleasure and reflections on the hidden, invisible meaning of nature.
After “Zahorí”, in 2015, based on her memories of childhood walks through natural spaces, she began to be interested in changes in light and its effects on water and vegetation, in capturing the luminosity of certain hours of the day in some spaces, a procedure that, inevitably, we associate with the impressionist and neo-impressionist aesthetics, because of its attraction to light, color and optical effects, but the artist, faithful to her lyrical abstract style, doesn’t proceed strictly as these movements; “Los jardines interiores” arise from that experience. Subsequently, her series "Sonata en Sol" and "Chromatic Capriccio" appear, in which a short brushstroke administered by juxtaposition is observed, distributing the colors without previously mixing them on the palette, but rather on the viewer's retina.
Avilán, parallel to her visual production, investigates quantum physics and mystical aspects linked to universal energy, which are closely connected, hence the pronounced color stroke and stain, gradually being reduced to tiny dots and interlaced strokes that flash and vibrate, visually metaphorizing the quantum, the least amount of energy; that is, the quantum dimension, the smallest constituents of matter, the smallest particles of light energy.
Her “Solar” and “Solaris” series are the product of these investigations, compositions characterized by being monochromatic, in square formats, at first, and the most recent, circular, this, probably, with the aim of accentuating their aesthetic aspect and the symbolic meaning of the circle. For Avilán, the circular is what contains everything, where everything exists simultaneously; past, present, and future, for example, coexist in that space at the same time; In addition, she adds, the circle symbolizes the cyclical nature of things, the eternal return, represented by the snake that bites its own tail, forming a circle with its body.
In these series, in particular, we observe that Avilán gradually sheds the surpluses, goes from the macro to the micro, from the stain to the point, which, practically, ends up being diluted, dematerializing, until her compositions are reduced to a visual grammar composed only of light and monochrome color, a kind of minimalist lyrical abstractionism.
Her most recent series, “Lunar”, which also consists of monochrome compositions, blue, purple, and green, is closely related to the feminine and the different lunar cycles that affect both human beings and nature.
Avilán has been inspired by the cosmos, the moon, and the sun –to develop her “Solar”, “Solaris” and “Lunar” artistic proposal–, as have civilizations of all times and places, as well as artists, throughout the history of humanity.
To achieve the consolidation of a visual poetry with her own, unmistakable style, Avilán has considered and taken advantage of all her experiences: academic, self-taught, travel, reading, among many other experiences. It is also significant the dialogical relationship that the artist has established between artistic styles, such as impressionism, neo-impressionism, and lyrical abstraction, as well as between reason, intuition, science, and religion.
Written by José Gregorio Noroño.