recalling OLD FRIENDS & FAMILIAR PLACES

by Norman Warwick

Since the beginning of 2021 our pages have carried news, interviews, previews and reviews of exhibitions and artists shown at The Lanzarote Art Gallery.

We are, therefore, pleased to announce that, following its inauguration event on the evening of Friday 28th May, at which Sebe restaurant provided patrons with complimentary wine, an exhibition called The Art Of Collecting (2nd edition) will be showing in this lovely Gallery until June 25th.

Lanzarote Art Gallery is owned by Eduardo Fariña, Art Collector, who invites you to visit and enjoy the 2nd Edition of The Art of Collecting, which includes works by Alfredo Montaña, Fabio Hurtado, Arnaudon, Masqali and Rafael Heredia. Fuerteventuran artist, Ely Phenix, and her underwater painting is also included.

artist Ely Phenix

Ely describes her work by saying, ´I create, I paint underwater in the ocean of Fuerteventura, I pass the skin of the water and reach the depth, I listen to the memories of the water inside and outside of me, the water inside and outside of me tunes in.

I paint in the polarized light of the ocean depths, each colour changes and reaches its purity. The lights, the shapes, everything is different, the sea in the background pampers me, it is as if I were painting in my mother’s womb, the one I was born in and the one of the planet Earth.

Each time is a new birth, each work is “brought to light”.

I choose to leave the micro salt crystals of the drying water on the canvas as a testimony and vibration of the waters where the work was painted.

My artistic journey begins with the study of the microcosm, in particular aquatic animals. Water has always been one of the guiding threads of my path, entering into the particles, into the forms to reach a different size. In the depths of the sea I find myself, an element, water, which for me has been and is a container to expand the Consciousness of myself and of the world.

Coral Reef Music by Ely Phenix

photo coral reff music My artistic research is based on the study, perception, mapping, movement and functionality of our subtle bodies. The aim of my work is to translate the love of creation into art.

This s intense research on materials, including crystals and pure minerals, because, through their frequency and wavelength, they send directly to the physical body of the observer different perceptions.

What I paint is a metaphor that develops information on various planes, exactly as a beam of light hits the wing of a butterfly.

My works are now visible in sunlight and iridescent light, ultraviolet light, infrared light and in the dark, so that each element sends different information to the observer in different parts of the physical body and the subtle bodies, making them vibrate as in a harmonic box´.

(shown below right) Alfredo Montaña (Oviedo, Asturias, 1945), who is also a Historian of Art at the University of Salamanca It has been said by the influential art critic, Javier Villán. of the well-known El Mundo newspaper that ´Alfredo has never ceased to amaze with his painting since he discovered his true vocation and stated for the first time in 1968 in Leon. The different topics that go from the still life, bullfighting, the seasons or the music, show a powerful and unmistakable style of daring colours. His work is a full mosaic of characters with eyes that are torn, pensive, sad or challenges within geometric
shapes that speak even though their mouths are always shown closed.
There is a hearth beat among his paintings of melancholy, desolation, truths, and almost impossible feelings of purity of the straight line, in the hardness of the edge, the angle, the cut spaces. In the painting of Alfredo Montaña, the interiors that lie behind closed areas or closed doors. But they also represent the interiors of humanity.

 There is a sensuality of geometry in his women. a carnality of geometrized bodies. The key to Montana´s painting is the rigor of composition. Objects and people, are integrated in the whole of the picture with a strong associative condition. The lucid disposition of all the elements of the picture leads to the immutable perfection of beauty.

I would run from that coldness of mathematical formula, that crude objectual analysis, were it not for the fact that, deep down, a deep existential breath dwells in it. Equilibrium of forms, empire of perfection, for the imbalance of emotions. Or lack of emotions; Servitude of the pure painting that is the way to express emphatically the creative freedom. Beings stripped of heart and searching for a heartbeat. There is in these pictures what there must be, above humanistic or philosophical considerations of existence: planes, arrangement of plastic rhythms, harmony or dissociation of colours, language, pictorial language; A world of intelligent perceptions oriented to pure painting´.

Personally, I am very drawn to Alfredo´s work that itself focuses on music and the arts. There is a tangible vibrancy to  his works such  as Cello, Piano And Viola (left) and Debutantes.

We have spoken previously on these pages of the work of Masqali, in an article entitledMoments Converted Into Geometry posted on 15th December 2020, and you will find details of her and all the artists collated in the exhibition at The Lanzarote Art Gallery web site. Nothing, though, can prepare for seeing these great works exhibited in a such a charming gallery.

The Lanzarote Art Gallery believes exhibitions are an easy way to gather and share knowledge and understanding of all artistic disciplines: Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Engraving or Photography

It is intended therefore to create a constantly changing parade of The Lanzarote Art Gallery collections, regularly renewed and refreshed, to offer a comprehensive view of the works of our most noted artists.

In this 2nd edition of  “The Art of Collecting “  the Gallery owner, Eduardo, presents:

´A tailor-made passion; A group exhibition is, in essence, the pooling, by coexisting and sharing the same space, of different discourses that, in one way or another, speak of the human being and the world. The fusion of different points of view, in dialogue, aims to establish questions, create doubts, destabilise, alter what is presented to us as closed, as ordering principles or unquestionable certainties. Contingency characterises human life. Conflict is consubstantial, inherent, inseparable from the human being and inherent to democracy. Confusion forces us to reflect, to rethink what is imposed on us as truth. It implies feeling alone and insecure, that is to say, not feeling free. “Collectors are happy people”, said Goethe. At Lanzarote Art Gallery your adventure can begin. Visit our art gallery or our online version, where you can see our artists, always happy to open the doors of their studios. Lanzarote Art Gallery & Eduardo Fariña Art Collector, is a contemporary art gallery, a new way of making culture direct and close to society. This project is a model of “Galería Viva”, a new concept, a dynamic and ephemeral gallery as a meeting point between different artistic disciplines in the same space. A simple way to share our knowledge to make it easier to understand all artistic disciplines: Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Engraving or Photography. The result is therefore a parade of works of art, which are renewed every short period of time, giving us a complete vision of the works of our most important artists. A great occasion to transmit our message as a Gallery and to show some of the most promising artists of our environment. An important selection of works will be on display from March 19 to May 21, 2021. ( M-F from 11:30-14:00 and 17:30-20:30 hours). Lanzarote Art Gallery is an art gallery known for showcasing established and emerging talent, investing now in the creators who are shaping the way we consume art and design. Prepare to contemplate your surroundings from a new perspective, with the power of art that will lead you to understand the everyday and the minute in a simple way, on a journey through beauty´.

I have been fortunate enough to interview owner and collector Eduardo Farina, and know him to be a fount of all knowledge on visual arts and I know he and his Gallery offer a holistic range of service on education, advice and service not only on the arts but on how to ´collect´ the arts. Check out the web site at  https://lanzaroteartgallery.com

Norman Warwick talks to Sara Of The Salinas

It was in November 2019 that we introduced you to ´Sara Of The Salinas´ in a piece that is still in the archives. She was, at the time, a tour guide who took small walking parties around the beautiful Salinas De Janubio on Lanzarote, the still-in-production salt fields of the island. We were so impressed by Sara Hernandez, and with her smiling, good humoured delivery of facts and figures and her obvious passion for the site and its tradition, that we thought she might make a great subject for these pages. When we asked her if that might be possible she agreed immediately and it was all fixed up within a few days.

We were thrilled to learn more about her and how she came to be working in a role that, at first, seemed a million miles away from the island’s busy tourist industry.

It was wonderful, also, to hear of her far reaching hopes and plans for what was once one of the island’s most important industries, with a huge workforce. We also learned how much she feels the arts could contribute to the future evolution and growth of the site.

Not too long after that interview, fully recorded in Sara In The Hat, the covid came and Salinas De Janubio went into lockdown restrictions. Since then, I am sorry to say, we have lost touch with Sara and are not yet sure if she has yet returned to work at the Salinas. which, of course has recently been hoit by the appearance of a massive sink-hole that has appeared in the coast road and now prevents approach by car from Yaiza or El Golfo.

It was especially reassuring, then,  to see recently an announcement On Lancelot Digital, the news broadcaster, that plans are in place to restore two windmills located in the Salinas de Janubio, in the municipality of Yaiza, here on Lanzarote. The windmills are the symbol of the history behind this spectacular installation from the Lanzarote sugar mill.

Their dilapidated state forced the property to restore them, but the high heritage value required numerous permits. This week, it finally received the green light from Costas, the last procedure for recovery, and now it will be possible to proceed with the restoration.

Carlos Padrón, owner of Salinas de Janubio, explained the essence of the mills.

 ´They are unique in Lanzarote because of the stone floor they have. Since we have been conducting guided tours for a long time, we wanted to restore the marine mills´. he says, explaining the importance of the project for them and everything they have had to do to get it started.

 ´We have approached the Cabildo (island government), Patrimony and the Environment, obtained the reports and information, and approached the Yaiza City Council, which is the one who gives the license. But we cannot forget that being on the banks of the Charcos these mills also needed the prior authorization of Costas. We have obtained it, this week, and the concession to act in this rehabilitation work´. 

Carlos Padrón’s grandfather founded this engineering marvel and with his son, also in the company, the fourth generation has reached the helm of what is perhaps the oldest Lanzarote company.

´These salt flats started in 1895 and are, possibly, one of the oldest companies in Lanzarote and possibly one of those in the Canary Islands. They have never stopped producing, through good and bad times`. 

He adds that ´When Lanzarote changed its economic model and switched to tourism, the Primary sector was abandoned and the salt flats noticed the change, but we have never stopped producing and selling salt.´

The way of working salt is the same as it was more than 100 years ago. The tools are the same, too; Shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows.

´This is the traditional way of working. There is no other way to collect and produce salt´, he says.  ´Janubio is not like other salt flats. I claim that this is a high quality gastronomic product and we are in the primary sector like any other food product. We are not a mining or industrial product ´.

The proposed restoration has been increasingly requested by the public, especially after the introduction of guided the tours for tourists, residents or schoolchildren.

So, maybe the dream of Sara in The Hat (shown right, with my wife Dee,) could still come true. We hope she will be working again at the Salinas as the dream begins to reach fruition.

As soon as we re-establish contacts with Sara we will let you have news.

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