POSTED ON FEBRUARY 15, 2012:
Behind Spanish Doors
A Room with Two Views previews Spain through foreign eyes
There is a saying in Spanish, "El sol se levantará mañana y quién sabe lo que traerá la marea." It literally translates thusly, "The sun will rise tomorrow and who knows what will bring the tide." Live for today, in a colloquial sense.
Artists Matt Moffett and Cynthia Marcoux understand this all too well. It is for this reason each of them keeps returning to their artistic playground in Spain. Their appreciation of the everyday wonders and seemingly common occurrences is apparent throughout. They take no detail for granted.
"Everywhere you look in Spain there is incredible beauty. Even just the light and the age of the place really inspire you. We've really tried to communicate and share that experience through the creation of these pieces," Moffett said. "This show is a mini vacation and you don't even have to leave Tulsa.
"There's so much cool stuff to look at over there. I go every year. Every time I go, I just want to bring it back with me. For me, this show is about bringing it back.
While the two artists have not traveled together, it would seem that they travel much the same, both doing their best to immerse themselves in local culture.
"I like just going to one of the towns and staying for a while. You really get to know a place by staying put and walking around to the same places each day and going to the same place for lunch," Marcoux said.
The inspiration of those routine cafe lunches can be seen in Marcoux's colored pencil drawing aptly titled "Lazy afternoon in Spain." Her depiction of a simple table setting is a beautiful example of realism with its distorted, looming shadows and a plate full of limes so plump and rounded, they might pop off the page and roll across the gallery floor.
Moffett echoes Marcoux's sentiment of the importance of taking your time to truly consider a place. "Yeah, by walking around and frequenting the same areas, your perspective is different. You have the opportunity to see a lot more that you wouldn't see otherwise. You take the time to notice the details," Moffett said.
An example of these details can be seen in the stand out piece "Nave Central," a painting of the interior of a cathedral in the Gothic Barrio in Barcelona. The focus is on the ornate stained glass windows within the nave. Moffett captures the light within the space in such as way that it appears to exist solely for the purpose of showcasing the dancing colors of the glasswork.
In "Graffiti Wall in Toledo," Marcoux cleverly interprets a wall of Banksy style graffiti that she came across while strolling.
In both instances it is art depicting art.
The piece "El Farol," depicts a lamp post that used to exist in a giant park in Maloga, near where Moffett was living at the time. "I would pass it every day and I'd wonder how many Spaniards told secrets and stole kisses underneath it. How many people proposed under that lamp post? A lamp post is a very simple thing, but it was such a part of my daily life, I felt I had to memorialize it."
In "El Patio del Alcazaba," Moffett pays tribute to the Moorish architecture by giving you, the observer, the vantage point from inside a hidden patio of an 11th century castle that Matt once lived next to. The yellow house that Picasso was born in is visible across the street.
The contrast in their individual styles is immediately apparent. A Room with Two Views is an apt exhibit title. Moffett's pieces are all oil on canvas with bright and saturated colors that set off bold and jutting shapes and lines, all lending themselves to more than a touch of whimsy.
Marcoux's body of work is much more based in realism. Her colored pencil drawings are so refined and detailed that with several of them, you aren't sure if you're looking at a drawing or one of her photographs. The discernible distinction between the two is that her photographs were shot with the now obsolete (read: impossible to find and thus quite valuable) infrared film. All black and white photos, the infrared film allows for the depiction of values that you wouldn't otherwise get with film.
Two artists, two perspectives, one very worthwhile show. A Room with Two Views is on display at Circle Cinema Gallery, 12 S. Lewis. Each piece is for sale and the exhibit is on display through Feb. 26.
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