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b. 1961, Spain

Alberto Reguera Biography

Known for atmospheric multi-layered abstract paintings and 'painting installations', Spanish visual artist Alberto Reguera disrupts perceptions of space and visual depth. He was the only artist to represent Spain at Washington D.C.'s Exhibit E programme in 2003.

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Early Years

Born in Segovia, Spain, the landscape of Reguera's native region of Castile had a profound influence on his art. Traces of Castile's expansive open vistas and yellow wheat fields under blue skies can be found in his paintings today.

Reguera studied at the University of Valladolid, Spain, graduating in 1985. A year prior to graduating, he also took part in a contemporary art seminar entitled 'L'art du XXéme siécle' at the École du Louvre in Paris. He was later selected to take part in various contemporary art workshops at Madrid's Círculo de Bellas Artes. There, he came into contact with influential Spanish contemporary artists such as Lucia Muñoz.

Influences on Reguera's work from the early stages of his career include the landscapes of the Romantics such as J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, John Constable, and Johan Christian Dahl. He is also influenced by proponents of 1950s French Lyrical Abstraction, such as Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Pierre Tal-Coat, and Olivier Debré. Reguera took inspiration in their ability to turn emotion into painterly gesture.

Alberto Reguera Artworks

Alberto Reguera's paintings evoke landscapes and atmospheric conditions through luminous textured layers of pigment. Blurring definitions of painting, sculpture, and installation, his landscapes escape the traditional two-dimensional frame.

Abstract Landscape

Owing some influence to Mark Rothko and the Colour Field painters, Alberto Reguera's paintings are abstract atmospheric distillations of the sensations of being in a landscape. Carefully layering pigment of various colours in thick applications, the artist creates luminous effects that break though the picture surface and mimic natural light and atmospheric conditions. In Pensamientos Nocturnos (2009), for example, the artist intimates a quiet, reflective night.

As the artist has developed a practice that further seeks to develop encounters with the imagined landscape, Reguera has experimented with elliptical and oval paintings, such as Celestial Reflection and Evanescent Paths (both 2016). Painted with metallic colours that filter light through the picture surface, they make possible different visual interpretations relative to where each viewer is standing.

Inspired initially by his childhood environment in Castille, later works reference overseas travels to places like New Zealand, Canada, and China. Reguera's photography capturing the scenery and natural essence of these places stands as art in its own right.

Installation Painting

Reguera's 'installation paintings' expand the notion of painting beyond the two-dimensional picture surface. Akin to sculpture, the artist treats the canvases as art objects, exhibiting them individually or in groups as free-standing works sitting on the ground. The sides of the painted object are treated with the same painterly attention as their surface, extending the layers of depth and texture in three dimensions.

Reguera's installation paintings began as single works, such as the fiery red and black Shadows and Luminosity (2008) and Luminous Green Interior (2009), in which a green glow appears to emanate from within the dark blue and black canvas. Over the next decade, Reguera began incorporating these forms into multi-object installations. The work Diversos Campos de Visión (Various Fields of Vision) (2012) is an assembly of these 'painting objects' that draws out the contrasts between each field of vision that is represented.

Expansive Paintings

As he developed his three-dimensional installations, Reguera also began producing his 'expansive paintings'. Further expanding painting beyond the two-dimensional frame, Reguera mounts his painting objects on a larger canvas, onto which they bleed colour and light in thick reems of paint. These works extend upon ideas of the interiority of the painting and what lies beneath its surface.

Inspired in part by the fluidity of Action Painting—Reguera is an admirer of artists like Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jackson Pollock—Reguera splashes and drags pigment from the painting object across broad canvases. In Cosmic Nebulae (2009), a thick layer of blue and white paint seemingly escapes from the upper corner of the blue canvas, like a cloud escaping upwards onto the white backing. In the later work Expanded Perennial Grass Painted (2017), a green and brown smear emanates from the painted green canvas like mud violently kicked up from green turf.

Action Painting

Turning the act of painting into performance art, since the late 2000s Alberto Reguera has carried out a number of 'pictorial performances', in which he creates his expansive paintings before a live audience.

He has performed at his own retrospective at the Museo Esteban Vicente, Segovia in 2016, and in 2019 he opened Segovia's Hay Festival with the performance Trails of Transformation, responding to live music by pianist Jorge Nava in the Plaza San Martin. In 2020, he presented a painting performance at the European Union Delegation to China in Beijing.

Exhibitions

Alberto Reguera has been the subject of both solo exhibition and group exhibitions internationally.

Solo exhibitions include Homage to Aert van der Neer, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid (2021); Alberto Reguera: El Aura de la Pintura. 1990–2015, Museo Esteban Vicente, Segovia (2016); Alberto Reguera: Blue Expansive Landscape, University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong (2015); Espace et Matière, Cervantes Institute, Brussels (2011); Constelaciones, Museo de Salamanca (2004); Silencios, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2001); Lichval, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994); Las Francesas, Sala de Exposiciones, Valladolid, Spain (1991).

Group exhibitions include 20/20, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong (2019); Korea-France Contemporary Art Masters Exhibition, Yangpyeong Art Museum (2017); From France to Korea, Seoul Olympic Museum (2016); Contemporary Art in the Palace, Palacio Real de Madrid (2016); War On Hunger Art Exhibition, OECD, Paris (2014); Assises: One hundred and one chairs, Ministry of Culture and Communication, Paris (2008); Exhibit E, Galleries of Dupont Circle Consortium, Washington, D.C. (2003).

Website and Instagram

Reguera's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2022

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