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Southern Gazes by Rodrigo Alonso

for the exhibition itinerant Miradas Australes

Due to its geographical characteristics, Argentine Patagonia has not been able to easily escape the omnipresence of the landscape. The endless horizons, the vast sea, the thriving nature, lakes, rivers and eternal mountains insistently summon the gaze, demanding recognition of its triumph over time and its need for everything that lives.
However, this essential relationship is not absolutely determining in the work of artists from the region. Although it is true that the landscape is one of the resources that many of them use, it is no less true that their production escapes the superficiality that it often induces. The gazes that only stop at natural beauty, that do not intend anything other than to transmit the organic vitality of a world of splendid and harmonious forms, do nothing but add to the visual cliché with which that territory is commodified to transform it into a world of stereotyped images ready for immediate consumption; images that, paraphrasing Clement Greenberg, “do not intend to ask their consumers for anything more than their money, not even their time”.
On the contrary, the aesthetic experience requires time, which is not only the time of contemplation but also that of reflection and questioning. There is a beyond the images that has an existence other than that of mere representation, which submerges itself to the concept, and this territory is the one explored by the artists in this exhibition.
Miradas Australes proposes a journey through the photography of South Patagonia from a purely contemporary perspective. Escaping stereotypes and clichés, the artists gathered in this exhibition prefer to investigate the less obvious aspects of the area, in its cartography and history, in its signs and urban environments.

In Patricia Viel's work the same theme acquires different connotations. Viel intervenes the photographs of sheep with brushstrokes that leave their mark and expression on the support; in this way, the artist becomes more intimately involved with the subject and its representation. The fact of living in the countryside and in direct contact with these animals is not a minor fact. However, his work transcends the anecdote and finds in the confluence of photography and painting, figuration and abstraction, the instruments to explore instants of plastic force.

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