Alan Pearson, a retired maintenance engineer from the UK discovered a passion for painting as a young boy, and has developed his art around the scenes he sees in his daily routine. Many of the canvases in Alan’s portfolio date back to the 1980s while working in England, although he has been at his most prolific since moving to Spain.
If the opening night of Udo Burkhardt’s newest exhibition of art in Ronda is anything to go by, attendance during the course of the exhibition, which runs from the 12th December to the 20th December is likely to be high.
Udo has chosen one of his most controversial paintings as the poster painting for the exhibition, seen in our photograph Udo (wearing a black leather jacket) and some of the visitors to the opening night.
Depicting an Afghan woman wearing a Burkha, Udo says he aims to highlight the lack of freedom of expression that women in some parts of the world have, whilst those attending his exhibitions in contrast have complete freedoms to express themselves in any way they feel.
In his art Udo rarely crosses into politics, the majority of his art is striking for it’s simplicity of colours and topic, though this impression certainly doesn’t define the artist. A careful examination of Udo’s other pieces underscores a man with deeply held ideas. His series of western horoscope starsigns is evidence of this, each painting demonstrating a thoughtful mind at work as the artist captures the essential spirit of each sign.
On display Udo has included a second series of symbolic pieces representing the natural world out of context, with some quite outstanding pieces to admire. This exhibition is quirky, vivid, and partly controversial, and in Ronda this is rare. Given the number of local artists who paint village scenes or still life, Udo’s exhibition is refreshing for being at once contemporary and unusual.
About the Artist
Udo Burkhardt hails from Germany, where as a young man he was known more for his music. Living in the Llano de la Cruz with his wife Margitt, Udo has exhibited several times in Ronda, including at the Casa del Cultura, the Parador Hotel, Unicaja, and the now defunct Andrew’s Artgalerie.
If you’d like to see Udo’s art on display, the Circulo de Artistas is located in the Casino building at the northern end of Plaza Socorro. Opening hours are 11:00 to 12:00 and 18:00 t0 22:00 every day.
During the last two weeks of August 2009, Mariana Mara, an expressionist painter, has welcomed Rondeños to an exhibition entitled “Un Momento” in the gallery room of the Casa del Cultura next to the Iglesia de la Merced in Ronda’s Mercadillo district.
Mariana comes across as a fun loving, humerous, intelligent, and passionate person, which is immediately evident on entering her exhibitions. I was greeted to the sound of Elvis Presley coming from Mariana’s laptop, and the frequent outburst of frustration as something didn’t work on her computer.
This sets the scene quite nicely for Mariana’s paintings which are at once bold and filled with colour, subtle with many layers to be sampled, and of course none is to be taken too seriously, all of Mariana’s paintings are to be enjoyed simply because they exist, and for no other reason.
Too many artists strive for perfection in a piece, the perfect stroke, a complicated meaning, but Mariana starts with an idea that is fairly easy to understand, and then proceeds to add layer after layer until she is happy with the finished piece.
I particularly loved her piece entitled “La Marsellesa”, a whimsical look at the world of opera. Painted on wood, the bottom third is painted over letterhead from the Madrid Opera company, and on each sheet of paper one can see a sketch of a lady wearing an opera gown. Over the entire canvas Mariana has painted in delicious skin tones and hues of pink, the face of we suppose a famous opera singer in her prime.
Other pieces also captivate, such as the scenes of the Puente Nuevo in Ronda. Again, Mariana has taken a simple concept, the connection with Bizet’s opera Carmen, and the ubiquitous view of Ronda, the new bridge as seen from the lower gorge. In bold and strong colours, Mariana has overlayed her work on the musical score for Carmen, though this isn’t immediately obvious when looking at the score since it is the French and English version.
My favourite piece in the exhibition though had to be Mariana’s scenes of the sky captured in a variety of different moods. These were perhaps a reflection of Mariana’s true depth of soul, I got the sense Mariana paints moods to escape the meaning and humour she often works with, that her mood paintings represent Mariana relaxing, or venting some frustration, and oddly these simpler pieces let us get to know Mariana better.
Of course we all have our favourites, and in conversations with Mariana she explained that her favourite pieces were those that allowed her to experiement with different media, or allow her naturally witty charm to escape and take on their own life.
A fantastic exhibition though, and well worth half an hour to appreciate Mariana’s work, but leave enough time to chat as well, since her art really comes to life when Mariana is given the chance to express her love of art, and philosophy, the theatre, and of course, life itself.
Ronda Today is pleased to host a virtual gallery of Mariana Mara, which includes every piece exhibited in Ronda.