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Roberto Guevara offers his thoughts in a critique of the artwork presented in Venezuela by the painter María Zabala, based on her most recent design using neon light. Guevara offers some background on Zabala’s creative life that illustrates her experimentation with various alternative media as her means of expression. Similarly, the writer sets forth an assessment of her exploration of sculpture and graphic design as well as the tensions generated between those two media. In Guevara’s opinion, real space is the most legitimate setting for Zabala’s creations. 


In the 1970s, Venezuela witnessed the appearance of various types of unconventional art, created by a new generation that explored a conceptual line through new media and languages brought to the viewing public in traditional as well as alternative spaces. An heir to this generation, the painter, printmaker, and mixed-media artist María Zabala (1945–1987) developed a body of work filled with diversity with respect to media and visual art solutions. On the occasion of her exhibition with neon lights in the Sala Mendoza, the critic Roberto Guevara (1932–1998) reviewed the path taken by this artist, discussing in writing her inclination for installations. This was a genre she had previously developed with Piel a piel, including the possibility of interacting with the viewing public in a concrete, instead of a figurative space. In this regard, the writer considers the works executed in neon lights on the walls of the exhibition room as a return that reminds us of our original expectations. The lack of continuity (or comprehension) in Zabala’s graphic and other two-dimensional designs would find its efficient cause in this expressive requirement. Taking another perspective, Guevara describes the difficulty faced by sculptural work in the Venezuelan art milieu, in which Zabala’s work helps lay the groundwork for the development of an assessment of contemporary three-dimensional work.  

Rigel Garcia
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Roberto Guevara, 1983
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.