Julio Figueroa-Beltrán / Midnight Passages by Ricardo Pau-Llosa
Julio Figueroa-Beltrán’s / Midnight Passages
A forest of shelters—birdhouses clustering across trunks—a scene oneiric and theatrical, onto which a man in a suit is entering. We see him from behind, onstage. We watch and follow, conjuring the intimate possibilities of the fantastic as a kind of personal real. The proscenium between observer and scene in Figueroa-Beltrán’s recent paintings are the pivotal conceptual boundary between his imagination and ours, a stylistic trait he has inherited from Surrealism and the various expressions of poetic realism in Latin American art. Midnight marks the temporal boundary between two days, but at that instant we are in both simultaneously. Likewise, these paintings mark how the complexities of any passage overturn the linear rules of quotidian time and experience. An iceberg on its implacable journey echoes the towering arcs of an expressway and the cold fires of the aurora borealis. In these paintings metaphor binds only to separate its components. Juxtaposition devoid of similitude revels in incongruity—orchids and jellyfish reflect on an astronaut’s helmet, a windmill ablaze rises from a calla lily. And, in a recent return to a fusion of found-object sculpture and painting which typified his earliest works, car doors propped upon other auto parts become the support for images that boldly impose the logic of incongruity on trope and common experience alike. In these works, the real becomes personal by an act of will, not through intuition or discovery.