Carmelo, Colonia, Uruguay
Self-taught artist Mauricio Ezequiel Paz Viola (b 1985; Carmelo, Colonia, Uruguay) embarked on his artistic journey early in life. Dabbling in plastic art since 7, he has participated in various art competitions in his native Uruguay and abroad. At 14, Paz Viola began to participate in group shows and individual shows nationally and internationally in galleries and museums in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, United States, Italy, among others. His work have been featured in doctoral studies programs in art in universities in Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Spain, and are frequently featured in magazines and art books, among which are Latin American Plastic Art Annual Review, High Impact: the Art of Visual (New York) as well as books in Spain, Argentina, UK, France, etc.
The style of Paz Viola has evolved from realism, landscape and portraits in his youth to surrealism and expressionism. Since his arrival in Chile in 2008, he started to focus on abstract expressionism.
The most notable influences of Paz Viola are Roberto Matta, Maurits Cornelis Escher, Joan Miró, Vasili Kandinski, Max Ernst, as well as Uruguayan artist and friend Javier Gil, who imbued a sense of motion into rigid objects as if everything had a life of its own – a concept expressed in Paz Viola’s series “Nothing in the Void.".
I would define my artwork as a manifestation of self, an extension of my spirit or sub-consciousness, which is still beyond my grasp and lies at the deepest sphere of pure self. In particular, I try to minimize intellectual inclinations when I create to prevent the ego, the fictitious self from intervening, and hence my works are the most loyal reflections of who I am (dreamer, fantasy-prone, sensitive, sexual and a bit dark and gloomy sometimes). I paint, therefore I am.
My works feature images of imaginary landscapes, empty or inhabited by unknown beings – landscapes that externalize a constant inner struggle of being human, that visualizes conflict between good and evil, between light and darkness… hence, the best way to describe my work is – landscapes inhabited by my own self, where a step forward is eternal light and a step backwards is total darkness.
In reality, my work refrains from saying too much: it was never my idea to talk about politics or social matters in my work. More than anything, my oil paintings, watercolours and collages are an invitation to enter the world of dreams, where the viewer can escape from the mundane for a few moments – like some kind of hallucinogen – being in there and being as oneself, and see things in a different way. This is why I have chosen an abstract approach which provides such resources. I am convinced that these images exist somewhere in the universe, and that I have seen them in the many previous lives I have lived as a particle of cosmic dust and am now only re-creating these worlds, never before seen by others, with luxurious details and narratives.
In a nutshell, a constant theme of my work is life itself as it is manifested in nature, the universe (or universes) and the infinite worlds and dimensions about which we know nothing, towards which biology, science, art try to grapple… in a word, LIFE.
Ontological concepts, jubilant style and candid instinct make a magical mix in the works of Mauricio Paz Viola, creating visual imageries secure in their aesthetic expression, and marvelously incisive for the audience… terrific for people who are fond of introspection.
The works of Paz Viola allude to the hidden charm of abstraction to the point of almost subordinating all conceptual speculation to genuine emotional experiences – a proposal typical of any authentic art where aesthetics are at play with our senses. In his works – extensive, powerful color schemes in preliminary states cover the canvas in an organic manner, with a sustained rhythm as if animated by the compositional force that sprung from the bond between the artist and the Universe. I would say that even more significant is the visual materialization of the dialogue between the existential author that delves into the profound consciousness of Origin.
If there were a way in which Paz Viola connects with art, it would be reflection. Through carefully chosen techniques, his visual language takes us directly to the heart of his works and transforms them into purely symbolic elements. Nevertheless, the artist seems to shy away from sticking to one storyline or taking the reins of a narrative, retaining on the canvas only what is perpetual, infinite and what speaks for itself…
I believe that the magnitude of images reflect the artist’s creative and cognitive will, and an example of this would be the series “Nothing in the Void” where the author expands on the radical idea of a kind of meaning where the human-universe duality dissolves into the immensity of being and nothingness. Presented with a subtle touch of personal nostalgia, the series nevertheless features explosions of colors and shapes, enticing the audience with an intense, limitless realm of imagination while striking music in their heartstrings.
Ricardo César Lescano Grosso, art critic in Argentina
Mauricio Paz Viola proposes a new approach to contemporary art through fantastical images of his own ideation, creating a wondrous landscape that invites imagination, physical and psychic, organic metaphors in virtual, ethereal and luminous worlds with a lyrical, person graphology like few are able to, in order to strive at perfection in beauty which springs from his inner cosmos.
The creative impulse is palpable all over the canvas, in its transparencies, its persistent yet innovative propositions of his own world, which opens to us through his writing, which is painting and drawing at the same time, masterfully and spontaneously conveying his cosmology and turning the onlooker into a silent witnesse to a world where time loses relevance and shapes regenerate indefinitely, becoming permanent movements in the eyes of observers.
Paz Viola eludes a straight-forward interpretation: rather, he defines his own landscape, articulating new horizons of joyful inspiration, with singular effects of light and shade, of dreamy colors in their textures and shapes. Henceforth, Paz Viola reveals his anxiety as an artist and a human being – anxious to reveal his self, while piece of his work appears as a fragment of a unique composition, an element of his secret intention to reveal the inner world of his imagination, which nourishes his creations.
The colors used by Paz Viola are not colors found in nature. Rather, they are invented, perhaps to generate uncanny visions of his dreams and his poetic musings: lights and sparks shining out of blue and orange, luring views to dabble in the world of Paz Viola… unexpected radiance that takes the audience to the realms of magic, to an imagined and fabulous world sustained by masterfully wrought palettes, in a state of constant change and creation, shapes that interlace and reinvent themselves, mixing colors, giving birth to new volumes, ebullient of perfect transparency and light.
Paz Viola presents a dynamic and incandescent landscape, which is deeply personal with an unequivocal singularity and originality, in which lies his relevance as a young artist and creator. While years will add to his mastery which is already evident, he will surely travel new paths towards new possibilities and wonder.
It is difficult to overlook his work: onlookers are inevitably drawn to behold them, to enter them and be carried away by the artist’s way of making and seeing – which alone can testify to its value as plastic expression. It is impossible to not want to explore the hidden nooks and corners and find in them lights and shadows. Inertia has no place in his work, and monotony is nonexistent: with multiplied visual realms, of which each is a landscape, a vision, all come together and form a parable – familiar, friendly, speaking to us in another tongue, in a unique language of Paz Viola.
The vibrant lines elevate shapes and colors to glory, with magic transpiring from all his creations – an epic magic that lends itself to movement of shapes and the vitality and transparency of color. Paz Viola blazes his own trail: he is his own influence, and therein lies the litmus proof of his significance as an artist. The spatiality in his paintings marks the beginning of the viewer’s journey, while his impeccable technique grips observers till the end of their artistic musings.
Paz Viola has a remarkable sensitivity with colors, and his paintings lay bare the depth and sensuality of his highly original textures that have broken free from conventions… Paz Viola gifts us with his existential mystique in every brushstroke, weaving fantasies that dance between the familiar and the unknown, opening new dimensions through his canvas as wormholes… Paz Viola shows a fresh path in a creative cosmos that exists only in his spirit and subconsciousness. From such intimate space are born his creations, which grow, change and multiple towards perfection.
Paz Viola is a good example of mediums at the service of ideas, of his unwavering horizons, of his colors – pink, orange, saturated or translucent, transfiguring in dark enigmas or luminous sparks – like an x-ray of his imagination, of his spirit.
Emerging gracefully out of his experimental audacity, Paz Viola seeks no other than representing his genuine essence as a human being and as an artist through his intimate and distinctive touch.
Martín Astorga, plastic artist and culture manager