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Norma Nava abstract art

This page is the first in a series of webpages in which Paintings.name tries to give an overview of the abstract arts on the Internet. Each page will be devoted to a single artist, and we couldn't have made a better and more difficult start than with the work of Argentine artist Norma Nava. Why it's a good start is obvious - to this author however, it's also a daunting task because of the originality of Norma Nava's work, which makes it hard to classify, as well as the experience of it's maker which humbles a semi-young artist such as myself. We shall not dwell on that - let's take a look at Norma's paintings.

If one browses through Norma's websites it soon becomes clear that nature is central in her work and thinking. There are drawings and photos of flowers, forests, Indians and many of her paintings are reminiscent of microscopic enhancements of cross-sections of plant- and animal cells as well as body-tissue. Some paintings seem like an artistic study into cell-biology and the visual language of fractals. All this is mixed with mesoamerican symbols and geometry in an incredibly clever way, that makes Norma Nava a great structuralist. With structuralism we mean that it's the artist's intention to fit together a painting's details such that they produce a pictorial unity. This is difficult enough when dealing with simple geometric objects such as squares, triangles, etc., but the level of complexity increases exponentially if shapes contain a degree of randomness, as is the case in nature, especially in microbiology, which seems to be a source of inspiration to Norma Nava.
And so there is the additional problem of visualizing randomness in an artistically convincing way. Care has to be taken to realize the difference with the role that chance plays in action painting. There the artist uses mechanical techniques to depict randomness, such that the way the paint hits the canvas really is random. Randomness in a Norma Nava painting however, probably starts with a drawing, which produces a more controlled kind of randomness, since it comes forth out of the artist's judgment directly and so, while depicting randomness, it's actually entirely deliberate.

The title of the first painting (above), Amazonia Distintos Canales, suggests that the Amazon river is the painting's subject-matter, but at the same time it reminds of microbiology.

In the painting to the left many more meso-american symbols can be seen and possibly a map of an archaeological site. The safety pin is typical of the way Norma mixes earnesty with humor - perhaps she can be described as one of the last nonconformists in "Western" art (the quotes denote my ignorance as to whether or not the Latin American art world should be regarded as Western - it definitely makes a European impression - or as fully independent). In daily life a certain degree of conformism is unavoidable, but in art it's a recipe for mediocrity.
To me the painting on the left looks like a cross-section of body-tissue with muscles and tendons. This seems like an example of Norma's quasi-abstractionism in which one wonders whether one is looking at real-life objects or not.

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