b. 1973, Santander, Spain
The latest practice of Javier Arce coincides with a time of change in his life when he decided to cut himself off from society to go and live in a shepherd's cabin in the mountains of Cantabria. Paradoxically, this change morphed into a situation of openness where isolation did not become solitude but rather a place of creation and new experiences that he now tries to give back to society via his new work. Javier Arce’s work meanders between the sublimity of the natural environment of Cantabria and the social disorder that he has had to experience during the start of this century. He presents a lucid relationship between the local and the global, the personal and the political, between the natural landscape and contemporary conflicts and, in short, between the individual desire and the collective impulse.
This recent paintings are small oil paintings mounted on untreated natural stretchers. The wood used has been recollected from the surroundings of his cabin in order to keep warm during the winter. Motifs are grounded in the specificity of his rural setting: animals, stones, water, vegetation, landscape... Every picture has been painted outdoors, in a a self-built easel. Thoreau describes how the life of Nature, with its ancient pace and its imperceptible changes, can become a model for human life itself. Javier Arce not only pays tribute to this American philosopher by showing the surroundings in which he lives, but by he also shows art as an aesthetic form of sustainability.
These paintings empathize with a new way of dwelling in which everything appears to be suffused with stillness. A green blotch floats over the linen canvas but the intensity of the green is modulated, varying from muted to electric. After all, March is not the same as September; damp and dry moss pulsate with different bursts of light. The explosive atmospheres of a close and tangible reality surpass a world of textures that only seems inhabitable through desire, immediacy and dreams. There is a stillness about them, a silent immobility that is distinctly striking and heartrending. Ranging from a neighbouring cabin reduced to minimum geometry to the silhouette of a figure in the sun, this body of work does not seem to represent the totality of a figurative space, but instead dissolves in understated abstraction.