The garden as an attempt to tame nature, which is so wild, so indomitable” 

Kelly Martinez

Ana Vanessa Urvina is a Venezuelan artist who works on the subject of landscape from a contemporary perspective. She rides two waters in the field of art, between a solid academic background and her development as a creative artist. Her proposal is a rich combination of the exuberance of the jungle, the chromatic luminosity of the tropics and the voluptuousness of the line, to represent the miracle of nature's abundance.

Precisely her formal education is carried out at the School of Arts of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Upon graduation, she taught at this same School of Arts and at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. Later, she became the recipient of the ALBAN scholarship (América Latina Becas de Alto Nivel), aimed at Latin American professionals in Spain, to pursue a Master of Arts in Artistic Production at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia between 2007 and 2008. In this process, according to the artist, "I was able to experiment with a lot of practical techniques, and from there, I definitely decided that I wanted to be involved in creation". In 2012, she continued her studies with a theoretical-practical course on the creation of artists' books at the School of Arts of the Universidad de Costa Rica, which gave her the tools to work in different formats and sizes.

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Ana Vanessa Urvina. Ferns
The work that she currently presents is the result of a maturation process, which has been subjected to reflection, research, and experimentation. An important point in her career was the artistic residence she did in 2015 at Columbia University, School of the Arts, in New York, in which, as part of the study dynamic, her ideas had to be confronted with the group of classmates. The result she arrives at is to move towards the style that we currently see in her work: “I allowed myself to let go of the figure, let go of figuration. A series of elements began to appear in my paintings that could be like leaves, little animals, monsters, which began to eat up the space, and the representative figure began to disappear... And I discovered nature as a body of study to develop it from the visual, of course supported by all the theory that I had been studying for years. All that was macerated, and it was in New York, when I began to be sure of where I wanted to go visually”.
About this, the researcher Ricardo A. Sarco Lira affirms that “precisely, the visual accumulation and baroque shapes, together with a notion of chaos and confusion, are the areas in which Urvina has worked since her artistic residency Advanced Intensive Painting 2015 … After her stay in the United States, and as a consequence of her work, Urvina's paintings are becoming more "baroque": the proliferating nuclei guide the viewer's attention throughout the canvas, the prominence of one shape or figure over the others give way to a painting where all the elements seem to find each other in a continuous state of tension.”
Ana Vanessa Urvina. Waterfalls
In relation to this aspect, the artist and researcher Kelly Martínez adds “the tropics cannot be contained, not even in representation. These paintings are just metaphors, hints, of a nature and a reality in which paradise and hell coexist. Like the habitat that accompanies it, life in the tropics is a space with its own order, in which knowledge of the logos and knowledge of the body intersect. And this work is nothing but the daughter of that hybridization. Hybrid also because the figurative and the abstract come together in it… Initiatory gardens, natures that are nothing but a mystery in which painting stands, for Urvina, as a ritual act”.
But what is the landscape of this artist about, what is her style and how is her proposal different, considering that this theme has a long tradition in the history of art. Today its landscape is that of the garden, it is that of the luminous color that contains the light of the Caribbean, it is the landscape of exuberance and voluptuousness. To get to this point, she went through phases in which she gradually discovered what limited her and where she wanted to direct her work. Although her beginnings are made in figuration, in this process, the shapes became more sinuous until she abandoned the figurative and let herself be carried away by the organic. Then a new dilemma arises between the jungle landscape vs. the tropical landscape of the Caribbean, the landscape of her gardens.
She started from the jungle landscape but had to find an internal logic that she could understand and manage. The abundance and exuberance of the jungle were aspects that captivated her, as well as the darkness that results from the thickness of the vegetation, added to the disorder and overflow of the growth of the vegetation. That unfathomable panorama ended in a questioning of how far the scope of her proposal would be. The decision was to take only one space of the landscape, and refer to the possibility of controlled vegetation, and that possibility was found in the garden. The garden allowed her to go to scenes with more precise and reachable limits. She took a space, in which she began to generate her field of study.
Ana Vanessa Urvina. Under the water
She expresses herself through a free abstraction, curved, sinuous, undulating and moving lines. The leaves, the stems, the flowers, the branches are selected to put together combinations, at least that is the perception they convey. She was able to strike a balance between the freedom of the organic and the structured of the composition. This way of presenting shapes approaches the notion of the irregularity of nature with a visually dynamic treatment. When observing carefully, the organizational structure that governs nature is present through the golden section, in whose imbalance is the internal order of each element.
Ana Vanessa Urvina. Yellow
The jungle has an enigmatic, thick, indomitable voluptuousness, of a green of unlimited shades. Ana Vanessa incorporated the flora into the tropical jungle, the light colors nuanced by the white light of the Caribbean. Hence, its tones reflect a harmony overflowing with pastels that vibrate. And despite the fact that the color is the one that predominates, the drawing is still observed. The artist confesses that in an internal struggle between drawing and color, she would like the drawing to disappear, but inevitably she needs to close the figures to achieve the reading of the whole that she wants.
The experimentation also covers formats and materials, her work includes acrylic, drawing, collage, canvas, wood, and acrylic supports. And especially the installations, it is where she wants to direct her proposal, to take that jungle to the three-dimensional space to put the visitor in her recreated vegetal space. The techniques, materials, and pigments that she uses lead us to think of the multiplicity of shapes and variety of planes of the jungle, in the coexistence of biospheres, of life in different planes.
Ana Vanessa Urvina. Orchids and palm trees
Ana Vanessa Urvina. Waterfalls box
In her work, the work of the Brazilian Beatriz Milhazes and the North American Georgia O'Keeffe has had an important presence. The first artist paints flowers on large formats that are repeated incessantly until beautiful compositions are achieved, while O'Keeffe paints sensual flowers. Urvina tells us “I am definitely fascinated by the freedom with which Beatriz handles color. How she incorporates elements of Brazilian Modernity, and how through graphic elements she has managed to translate a cultural background of her country, there is a music in her color, her work vibrates as Brazil vibrates, as that culture vibrates. I feel that I took from her, that value of color so vivid, that's what I love about her work. In the case of Georgia, she is a benchmark for any artist who wants to work with nature, or reinterpret nature, or rethink flora. The sensuality of her forms is what I take the most for my work, what I admire the most. I have other references like Anita Malfatti, Tarsila do Amaral and Gregori Amenoff, the father of organic abstraction. I have managed to bring together artists from different generations, but all of them contribute something to me about nature”. She would add Donald Sultan to this group, in terms of the visual relationships of the irregularity of the edges and large formats.
Ana Vanessa aspires with her work "to remind us how human we are... to celebrate nature". She invites us to look back at the essential.

Written by Any Bello,

 Arte Original.

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