José Manuel Merello
Carmen. (130x81 cm). Acrylic
April Girl . (92x73 cm) Acrylic.
Constantinople Girl .- Oil
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© José Manuel Merello Arvilla
SPANISH PAINTING. MEDITERRANEAN LIGHT.
Thoughts about art and painting.
" I am not an avant-garde artist. My art is contemporary, literally speaking: a product of its time. Vanguard, on the contrary, represents the most modern innovations – neither better nor worse; like the sharp point of a spear which opens up new paths. However, that sharp point needs all the power and weight of the rest of the spear, the weight of Art History. Without all this History, there is no push to open up new ways. Vanguard Art represents freshness, novelty, surprise, the truth and the fake. A risky and fascinating bet. However, what interests me is to draw from the classic and contemporary traditions, deepen into the walked path, and remain vigilant – like many other artists – to provide vanguard artists a solid foundation. Much in the same way as an older brother holds his youngest brother’s hand with fascination, as the intrepid child peeks, with wonderful daring and without fear, into the abyss. I need to keep an eye on the Avant-garde Movement because it keeps me young as artist, it cleanses me, it clears up my spirit, so that my view doesn’t sour. I am a part of the body of the spear and, from that vantage point, I observe with fascination the young art sharp poking at the same time that I draw from the magnificent work of the masters of all times, the powerful legacy that sustains us. I am not part of the sparkles – sometimes ephemeral – of the spearhead. Each one of us has his role, and mine, nowadays, is not in the vanguard." © José Manuel Merello
"ABOUT JOAQUÍN SOROLLLA".: Today it does not seem to be too modern speaking about Joaquín Sorolla, the great Valencian painter. But I always have refused to see in him an antiquated, impressionistic painter, luminous and little else more. Otherwise, Sorolla is one of the big ones, a titan, a Colossus of the painting. He maybe couldn’t be compared neither to a Velázquez nor to a Picasso, it would be very daring, but yes I see him at a height of a Cezanne or a Manet. Well, it is true that the work of the Valencian one is very unequal in quality and is paying for decades for this discontinuity in such way that only very few people can rescue between his painting those linens which catapult him towards the Olympus: Sorolla's white linens." © José Manuel Merello
"Abstract Painting and Surrealist Painting, apart from being essential and marvelous in themselves, these days also fulfill an invaluable pedagogical function for any artist. The have now become part of Classical Art and are the Artistic Heritage for Spiritual Learning and Artistic technique. They are like gymnastics for the unaware and for the eye, providing places where almost all feelings and spiritual emotions can be hatched to finally lead to build this immeasurable and grandiose thing we call THE ART of PAINTING." © José Manuel Merello
"A good drawing cannot in any way be unfavorably compared with a good painting. It is more, beneath every picture is an essential underlying drawing that sustains it, a skeleton that mobilizes it and gives it form. Any painting lacking of this base crumbles and appears flimsy." © José Manuel Merello
" The drawing does not remain defined by the line, not even the painting remains defined by the color. The painting is still saved, and this is partly what currently defines it, of being able to be assimilated and comprising in a monitor or a photo. On the other hand the drawing does really is asimilable by these means. Leaving aside fetishisms, it does not matter to me to have an original drawing or a photo or an identical poster of him. It is the same thing and the drawing can be enjoyed identically, as it happens despite of reading a good book in different editions, or seeing the same photo revealed for the second or tenth time. When it is not in game neither the fetishism nor the plasticity, all these supports take us to the nobility - or misery - of the work. But in painting the plasticity is always in game, the plasticity, the morbidity, the opaqueness or the transparence, the brilliant or dull surface... qualities that are impossible to be transmitted by means of a monitor of computer, a TV or a poster. The digital technique, far from ruining the arts, it only does to demonstrate the singularities of these other techniques, and the painting gains the garland due to currently it is impossible to enjoy completely The Meninas in an image, impossible to feel the powerful sensation of gap of the stay where Velázquez does, impossibly to perceive the pearly rind of the pictorial layer of the picture, useless to turned oneself and to see sideway to be able to feel the delicate nodes and stretch marks of the painting of the genius. And let's not say anything about pictures of Tàpies, or of Lucian Freud, or of Jasper Johns... The color and the disposition of the forms can suggest us very much, of course, but they remain far away, they are not enough to express the plasticity of the picture. This is the Painting." © José Manuel Merello
" In painting and in drawing, technically speaking, things can be wrong done if they do not know how to make them correctly, but the bad made things must be "perfectly wrong made". This way the result will always be good. " (summer 2004) © José Manuel Merello
"Art History is the emotional and spiritual History of humankind. It is a remembering of its most sublime feelings materialized in works of art that transcend time. Altamira and Lascaux are primitive examples of this human desire of expressing its emotions. In my opinion, there is not any artistic era superior to another one in its initial impetus to create a material proof of an emotion or a spiritual pleasure. On the other hand, I believe there have been art eras superior to others since the human being has improved its technique. In the same way that scientific progress always goes up, artistic progress, which needs technology to advance, evolves with an increasing trend. However, this evolution is not continuous, since it depends on two factors: technique and spiritual emotion. Art is not just a feeling. Art is the feeling being materialized, incarnated, sculpted, written with skill and technique. The cavemen had only a few tools at their reach; consequently their art is more primitive than Baroque Art, to give an example. The problem lies in the fact that technique and emotion do not always move along parallel lines. As a result, we can sometimes find art periods with a greater and purer emotional and spiritual impulse, even though they relied on inferior technique. On the other hand, we sometimes can find other periods with better means, in which the art is weaker due to the human soul was soured, repressed, or manipulated. When the human spirit undergoes a sublime and free period, accompanied by a superior technique, then we will refer to this period as a Golden Art Age." © José Manuel Merello
"Nowadays, Modern Art exudes a breath of fresh
air and freedom never before imaginable. Up till now, Art
History has never had such an array of possible techniques for
artists to choose from or such a variety of artistic languages
for artists to fully express themselves. All the different Art
schools and tendencies, favoritisms aside (even though they have
always been there), enjoy a great open field that promises
fabulous creations in the coming years.
Surrealism, which was born in the 20th century as a perfectly defined art movement, is nowadays a tendency impacted by Expressionism, Figuratism, Abstract and many other schools of Art, which enrich Surrealism without diluting it and enlarge Surrealism without voiding it. I opine that the borders in art tend to vanish. It is still very complex to reflect upon this phenomenon since we find ourselves currently in this Art multimovement searching for the "one Art". But beware; never should it be an imposition or an absolute movement. Art is free by nature and it will always slip away, like water through our fingers, from the premonitions and the horizons that we try to impose on it." © José Manuel Merello
“I plead for humility in painting. Painting does not need so much fanfare or intellectual pretension. It must come from a person’s clean soul, from the clear and pure eye of the painter, even if only a simple apple is being painted. It is for this reason that I admire Morandi so much.” © José Manuel Merello
"I detest a large part of the minimalism that is practiced today
across all the arts. I'm afraid that within this alleged
synthesis there is an excess of rubbish and uselessness floating
around that serves only to confuse the audience, which sometimes
may be ignorant but blameless, although, more frequently,
intolerably pedantic, void of any understanding or knowledge."
© José Manuel Merello
Art and the economical crisis.
Art, as any commercial product, is noticing the same or more, since it is not an essential item, the consequences of the current economic situation. However, as in all times of change and redirection of political, economic and social paradigms, art can come out, enriched and even strengthened, of a situation like this.
In the Art world, particularly in the interpretation, actors and actresses tell that certain levels of anxiety and stress are able to awake in them the ability to concentrate and a transmission talent which they do not have in normal situations. And, what is the present time but a continuous state of turmoil and excitement? The art has been, fortunately or unfortunately, nurtured by many or all of the major episodes of human seizure; signs of this are the Picasso's Guernica or the Fusilamientos del 2 de Mayo from Goya.
Would then be currently expected to flourish great works of art or even a new art movement? Movement that could result in two very different topics, one that would focus on criticism and look to the past aiming on the events and behaviors that have led us to the current economic crisis, and another that would extoll all that nourishes and gives the human a second opportunity to reorient their economic, social and political processes, as intelligence and generosity. ©P.M. Giménez
“A frame to a good painting is like a dress to a beautiful naked woman. It is not essential but serves to celebrate and give charm to the work.” © José Manuel Merello
"Spanish painting has, throughout the centuries, maintained a serene and melancholic regard: tragic but never violent. There is no such thing as violent Spanish painting. Even the most ferocious Goya or the most horrifying Picasso never lose the composure and class inherent in the brushwork." © José Manuel Merello
"Everybody asks themselves what art is. I think that art is any human creation that is able to lift the spirit to a higher plain of emotion and wonderment." © José Manuel Merello
"The Expressionist Painters, The Surrealistic ones, The Contemporary Painters in general ... and The Ancients, Figurative Painters, Abstracts, Realistics, Pop, The Greatest Painters, The Unknown ones, The Famous ones, The Genial Artists and The Artists without Genius... The Draftsmen of Comic, The Digital ones, Arrogants, Simples, Mad Painters, Rich ones, Poor Painters. It does not matter for me from where are they, Chinese or Spanish Painters; I like All the Painters around the World, I am interested in the whole painting; a simple vase, an anonymous portrait, a pretentious picture, a stupid picture, a brilliant painting: They all are Painters, All is Painting" © José Manuel Merello
"Horses and children. Fat women, beautiful women and old ladies. The magicians and poets. Dogs and cats sleeping. Bulls and Spanish bullfighters. The processions of Seville and Malaga. The crucified Christs filled with blood and prayers. The saints. A Virgin for each village. The sun and the rain of Biscay. The sea, the passion, love and art of the Mediterranean. Painting and older architecture. And the most modern. The dances and dances of the villages lost. Literature issued by the Spanish world. Deep red, purple, black and olive. The balance between the sun, moon and stars: this is the Spanish art. " ©José Manuel Merello
will be the art in 2011 and in the near future? Freedom defines
contemporary art. International art fairs are fun and
intriguing, are challenges for thought and human emotion.
Walking through a contemporary art fair like ARCO in Madrid, is
now a mental release. You may think that what we are seeing is
not "art", you may think that some artistic creations are not
moral and then deduce that they are not art. But you are wrong.
The art does not ever depend on morality. Any work of art owes
nothing to any form of thought or ideology. The human spirit is
free. Art is free. The art is beyond good and evil. What is
necessary is to prevent some forms of art that are violent,
not allow them
because we need rules for coexistence or because it is ethically
unacceptable. For example, we can turn the Amazon into a garden
empty, naked, with only a tree. Sure could be a work of
conceptual art, but it would be really stupid. The savagery and
brutality can be handled with great skill. It would not be
moral, it might be art, but should not be allowed.
Another common mistake for many visitors to ARCO is to think that there can be only paint. No. The painting is a very important part of art, but only a part. Many artists complain that there is very little paint on the contemporary art fairs. They have a point, perhaps the art galleries with paintings should be more exposed there. Modern painting or classical paintings are wonderful, a highly evolved form of art ... but Art does not need paintings for being Art. Of course, many current creations are just ephemeral art, art to think and meditate during a few minutes. And now that's a very interesting difference." ©José Manuel Merello
The Blue Little Horse Story. (73x92 cm) Acrylic
Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart and Marilyn.
"More nonsense. Now it's up to Van Gogh. Just a new book that speculates about his last days of life, whether he committed suicide or was accidentally killed.
I don’t have read the book, but I have read some notes like one where someone asks Vincent, who was bleeding in his bed, if he had wanted to commit suicide and he said “I think so”. And for some persons this is a enough reason to write a book because this answer might indicate that he did not pull the trigger.
This nonsense, and others cited in the book, justifies, without shame, to raise a new plot that will surely give a lot of money, because it is likely to be after converted into a film. Tangle and dig no matter what it takes, without the least respect in the life of someone who gave everything for nothing. It's disgusting this hobby to create a hieroglyph which gives morbid fascination and money for a long time. It seems to me outrageous disrespect to the generous genius.
This is the same with Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Come and see what we invented now or what we can discover in the hackneyed, heavy and nothing enigmatic smile of Donna. Hey, look, I think this hair of his hair is like a cross of a rare sect and this union of points that I see is the trail of a powerful secret means that Leonardo knew, even then, the existence of neutrinos. And on and on, nonsense after another, no matter if the Mona Lisa is a mediocre picture (beyond the use of "sfumato" as innovation), mediocre, yes, in its historical context and others it can have a bit interest but plastically is not too good. Never mind. They have already managed to become it an icon based in chatter and nonsense, and then it begins to have an interest, quite apart from its true quality. As the image of Marilyn in pop art. Nothing more. Poor Marilyn, how many people are still profiting from his image and his death. I am convinced Da Vinci would be saddened about all these matters.
Or Mozart. He and his death. Salieri and Mozart enmeshed in a tangle mesh tarnishing forever the image of the great man, making him look like drivel, like a clown in the, otherwise extraordinary, film of Milos Forman's, "Amadeus". It is always the same: to make art or intrigue whatever it costs. I always say that art does not know morality but that does not entitle us to crucify dogs or to make intrigues and cabals on humans who only made to magnify our spirit giving it all they've got.
I am very sad about people do not stop to remove the ears, bones, misery and privacy of these martyrs of art.
Please, leave them all alone."
©José Manuel Merello