About the series: LEVE (Lightness).
…but the lightness Diaz refers to is not about the frivolity or thinness. His lightness is part of a metaphor that refers to the human condition, its fragility, subtleness, ephemerality and even its oxidation or decline. Expressing such and abstract and intangible idea its not easy. Diaz honoring his trajectory uses canvases and papers, not as a support, not to portray its problematic but to personify, materialize and convey by themselves the notion of the urban space, the urban night…
In the works of Diego Díaz, a great part of the protagonist is the support of the paper that gets involved as a main actor in the scenes and whose hue, black or red, establishes the courage, the character and the spirit of the representations. His papers reveal and hide simultaneously. They reveal a time, circumstances and a situation that in the case of the black papers are patently related to the night, by allowing yourself to observe only a detail that is spot-lit, hides the surrounding area and enables the observer to see even beyond the physical limits of the work, supplying with their knowledge and experiences the rest of the scene.
The mission of hiding and revealing is also given in the case of the red papers, but this color is identified with the ideas of danger, passion and desire constituting the appropriate scenario for suggestive scenes of eroticism or violence. His young characters are represented with the security and perception of the old teachers, but their contemporary appearance as well as the bohemian atmosphere of where they arise with admirable precision, linking them clearly with the here and now. A time in which the bohemian no longer represents an anti-bourgeois attitude but a pastime splashed with drugs and alcohol, accepted and habitual experience in urban events.
Drawing as a beginning and end
Even though it is no time to judge Diego Diaz´s work, the maturity of his works compared to his age, makes him look older than he actually is: complete, formal, reflexive, like out of the hands of an artist seasoned by the years in the profession.
The resolute drawing, with a sure stroke, the clean paint and the ability to transfer his characters to go beyond their forms and enter their privacy, are skills that augur great moments for the artist. His figures, detailed with colored pencils or executed with brushes millimeter, are imbued in space, and merge into flat backgrounds, in intense reds or the resounding blacks that wrap them as if they wanted to hide without achieving it, because, on the contrary, the color emphasizes them as calligraphy would. This effect, probably taken from the photography (another of Diego’s languages), invites the viewers to scrutinize his works trying to understand them in his reserve, almost challenging them to get to the bottom of the painting where the artist hides his secrets.
His protagonists are common, real beings, they can be his neighbors, his childhood friends or characters of the city he lives in, all full of stories, feelings and expressions that the artist manages to transfer to the paper or the canvas of his small universe.
Above all considerations, drawing is without a doubt the great protagonist in the work of Diego Diaz. Even though in some Colombian art history stages, drawing has been seen as a minor technic at the service of painting, great drafters have left deep traces in our history and today, like some kind of avant-garde trend, a generation of young artists has let the draft art seduce them, so meticulously, that remind us of the glorious times of the expeditionaries that marked the geography of the Colombian flora or the basic traits of the cartoonists of the Colony, going through all the periods in which drawing has been the beginning and, in the case of Diego Díaz, the end.
Untitled” it’s a 70x70cm drawing by Diego Diaz, 2012, done with color pencils over Murillo black paper.
Being conscious of the fact that almost everything we see could be false, or at least uncertain, is one of the characteristics of the contemporary world. Leonardo da Vinci asserted that the knowledge we get through our sight was the most certain of them all; nowadays we dare to say he was wrong, due to what we know of psychology of perception and how influenced we are by communication strategies, specially in the digital field.
That is why it is so perplexing to see Diego Diaz’s work, how he makes us aware that we don’t only see what is shown: we see what we know and in what we are interested. Against the never-ending search of the meticulous and the deep in the world of the Renaissance, Diego Diaz with his Classic painter precision, knows that our mind will structure and fill in the blanks, and that it will eventually lead us to see what he hasn’t completely painted.
At the same time, it becomes clear that this is not just about formal and technical issues, but it’s also a part of the artist’s investigation on what we could call “the colours of the night”.
“Untitled” it’s a 70x70cm drawing by Diego Diaz, 2012, done with color pencils over Murillo black paper, and it’s part of the “Black To Red” exhibition in the Naranjo Gallery.
His interest in the night experience links Diego Diaz to Oscar Jaramillo, his teacher. It belongs to the urban experience of the modern man and demands a specific use of colours and lights, that will determine the light systems, the pencil choices, and especially, what support to use and the way to frame the figures.
The drawing will present only suggestions. Indeed, the choice of black paper as a background brings within the intuition of a nocturnal, but not necessarily, empty space. It will lead us to a voyeuristic role, stalking those figures that would be highlighted from a crowded space using fleeted and punctual light shots. It’s in fact very different from drawings on red paper, where the space becomes less casual, more erotic and psychological, and they would be even more different if they were to be presented in white paper.
The choices of the location of the figures in the paper are as determinant as the colors. It will determine our own location; and it will also create in us emotional links with them and the painting itself, since our own perspective of it will exalt and emphasize them.
But as it was said before, the forms and structures in it are only validated if they are used as the source of our senses. And what we find here is the night as the colour of experience, the night as possibilities of encounters or ruptures and the night with those figures that we can only partially see and whose experiences won’t ever be fully revealed; but what they do reveal is a new face of the city, loaded with the beauty of what is intimate and ordinary.
These are suggestions that will hit us deep in our minds, further beyond what our eyes can see.