This essay by Juan Carlos López Quintero is from the catalogue for Elsa Gramcko: Una alquimista de nuestro tiempo. Muestra Antológica 1957-1978, the 1997 exhibition at the Galería de Arte Nacional. It was the first grand retrospective of works by the Venezuelan visual artist Elsa Gramcko (1925–94). López Quintero, the curator of the exhibition, provides a highly detailed description of Gramcko’s work. He lists all her creative periods, briefly lingering in each one to examine the philosophical and psychological factors that inspired her works. This essay is also one of the few individual studies of every piece in each of her creative periods. Gramcko was painting in the 1960s and 1970s but stopped completely in 1979, a development that, coupled with her late entry into the world of art (1953), helped to facilitate this detailed chronology. Needing a system for studying the artist’s work, López Quintero suggests classifying it according to form, materials, and subject matter. This is an expanded and corrected version of the earlier one proposed by Carlos Sánchez in “Hacia Elsa Gramcko.” The chronology of Gramcko’s creative periods, according to López Quintero, was as follows: First Figurative works (1953); Set of abstract forms (1954–55); Geometric period (1957–60); Texture and Black period (1960–61); Junk (1961–62); Lyrical abstraction experiments on wood (1962); Accumulators and gears (1963–64); Doors and dwellings (1964–65); Animals and eyes (1965–66); Crosses and talismans (1966–69); Sculptures (1967–73); Drawings on wood (1969); Totems (1973); Sketches by an artisan of our time (1874–1978); Latest works (1979). These creative periods were Gramcko’s response to events in her life and the prevailing ideas of the moment. They express the constant variations in her subject matter, one period after another in fairly rapid succession.
To read other critical essays about this artist and her interviews, see the essay by Oswaldo Trejo published in 1966, “Elsa Gramcko” ; the article by Alberto Anzola published in 1968, “Elsa Gramcko y sus cuadros mágicos” ; the article by Roberto Guevara, published in El Nacional in 1969, “Abstractos inéditos de Elsa Gramcko” ; the essay by Juan Calzadilla published in 1969, “Elsa Gramcko: la atracción de las texturas”  and his “Entrevista con Elsa Gramcko” published in 1976 ; by Clara Diament de Sujo, “Elsa Gramcko” ; and Teresa Alvarenga’s interview, “Elsa Gramcko: por ahora el silencio” .