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In this essay, the Venezuelan writer Rafael Arraiz Lucca reviews the main aesthetic principles that underlie the work of Manuel Quintana Castillo as well as the techniques and processes that characterize the artist. In this regard, Arraiz Lucca points out how interesting he finds the sensitive calligraphy rendered by Quintana Castillo. The writer remarks the relevance that it arises from aesthetics based on the formation of a universe of signs (some archetypical, others personal). The artist developed these aesthetics under the governing concept of “The river of Heraclitus,” whose meaning refers to the movement and perpetual change in nature. In Arraiz Lucca’s opinion, these elements lead to the development of an alphabet that has been a constant in the artist’s explorations for several decades. Regarding the painter’s techniques and processes, the writer highlights his interest in surfaces and space, gestures, and the idea of exploring a “sensitive geometry” that moves between Abstract art and the main forms of figurative art. He also notes the artist’s obsession with color as the material that shapes the geometric elements.
This text by Rafael Arraiz Lucca (b.1959) was written in connection with an exhibition by the Venezuelan visual artist and essayist Manuel Quintana Castillo (b. 1928). Though the title of the exhibition is not stated, based on its date and content as well as the focus of the criticism, the related exhibition may have been El río de Heráclito (Caracas: Galería Muci, 1995). The writer uses many suggestive poetic metaphors in order to delve into the artist’s work, celebrating his status as an intellectual and providing detail on the artist’s principles and production methods. The purpose of all this is to wrap an aura of mystery and transcendence around the significant mark made by Quintana Castillo on the development of Venezuelan art. Throughout the text, Arraiz Lucca uses the artist’s own voice to support the writer’s interpretations, sometimes sensational and sometimes without any substantive content at all.
[As a supplementary reading, see the ICAA digital archive: the essay by the art historian Víctor Guedez “Manuel Quintana Castillo una visión retrospectiva” (doc. No. 1156200); one by Carlos Contramaestre “Universo sígnico y espacio sagrado en la pintura de Manuel Quintana Castillo” (doc. No. 1156135); and another text with a historical bent by José María Salvador “Pinturas topológicas de Quintana Castillo” on the artist’s individual exhibition Pinturas topológicas/ Superficies activas (Caracas: Galería Altamira, 1993) (doc. No. 1156117)].