LISBON.- The exhibition Jose Sanleón Al Boeira opened at the gallery do Torreao Nascente Cordoaria National in Lisbon through January 4, 2009. This event is the result of the collaboration agreement signed by the IVAM with the City of Lisbon and the City of Culture. The selected works from Al-Boeira's series belongs in the IVAM's collection.
José Sanleón (Catarroja 1953) belongs to the generation of artists that contributed decisively to overhauling the visual arts in Spain in the 1980s. The paintings in the show underscore his new visual and thematic explorations throughout the decade and his seminal Al-Boeira series.
With a work grounded in complex influences where the posits of American abstract expressionism dovetail neatly with a telling usage of the conceptual and material formulations of Arte Povera, Sanleón has undertaken a critical reinterpretation of the cityscape, the metaphor of the labyrinth, a tribute to the great masters and, perhaps more pointedly, the conception of painting as a language in continuous mutation and expansion.
While a creative dialogue with the natural landscape has underpinned his work since his first tentative steps as an artist, it is only in the last two years when he turned his gaze to the real landscape of La Albufera. This fresh water lagoon near the city of Valencia is freighted with memories, symbolic references and redolent backward nods to experiences from his childhood. Al-boeira, the Arab name of this lake, is the title arching over a vast body of work that, to borrow the artist's own words, "responds to an inner drive to reinsert myself in nature, both iconographically and as a rejoinder to the various emotional states of the soul. I am not after an objective narration of a certain image. What concerns me is how to turn this introspection through memory into a painted lived experience. The ulterior motivation of these works is the quest for ideas that help me paint the very essence of painting, in other words, painting in itself.