First published on 28 October 2022
Ana Montiel: INITIATION
OMR presents INITIATION, a three-stage evolutionary exhibition by Ana Montiel as her first solo show with the gallery.
An extensive overlaying of pigments covers the gallery's exhibition space like an expansive wave that irradiates from the artworks of this project. This clear imprint of the work that Ana Montiel (Spain, 1981) has been realising over the past few weeks, beyond accentuating the immersive character of her painting style, turns the viewer into a witness of her exhaustive production process. With this gesture, the artist's habitual hermeticism she tends to work with from her studio is vulnerated, raising a series of underlying topics in her work that have not yet been posted in such an open manner. The project is divided into three stages, each lasting one month: Departure, Limbo, and Transfiguration.
The three distinct phases allude to Joseph Campbell's hero myth: The hero departs toward a new adventure, its initiation, and finally, the hero's return to their village as a transformed being and the conflict this entails. This archetypical structure is shared in multiple cultures' narratives and seized by Montiel to explore her own journey. An initiatory journey tangled with deep thresholds and existential questions. The search for the sublime merges with a partial understanding of psychedelics, botanical studies, sexuality, the cosmos, science, shamanism, paganism, love, or nostalgia for a nomadic past. The artist works on the idea of myth under a Jungian tradition: as a psychic phenomenon that reveals the soul's nature.
INITIATION reminds us that we are in continuous transformation, praising and magnifying it through the use of symbols and perceptual stimuli. It helps us question what we know and to stop denying other kinds of wisdom. To open ourselves up to other possibilities of being without acting condescendingly toward what we do not understand, what we do not want to see or are terrified to accept. In a perpetual search, Ana Montiel will continue working in OMR's exhibition space throughout the three stages, fading all traces of their beginning or end. In constant recalibration, mimicking the Earth's magnetic poles. The artist visualises her journey through a misty walk as a circular river, which its grooves generously widen at each turn.
Text by Enrique Giner de los Ríos.