Text by José Gamarra

Gamarra created signs: monochromatic, calligraphy, reliefs, textures with somber colors, of strong visual impact. The artist explains the process to materialize his creation.

“I began to handle a plane, a material support, and the signs. It could be said that I took from informalism that way of playing with matter, as a support for what I wanted to read, which were the signs. They were invented signs, but linked to the first cultures of my land. What I do is a mixture of symbolism with American painting. I use a palette with shades of black, brown and white, but before the work, the man disappears, only the virgin canvas and a need to say inexplicable things. Because to explain is contradictory; that is why these works do not have titles, only numbers. They are just paintings.

I have always looked for my own form of expression, assimilated to the first sources of a Latin American culture by an essentially plastic symbolism. The signs and symbols that I inscribed in my paintings once hoped to narrate and reveal, in a silent harmony of colors and forms, the singular history and the enigmas of ancient civilizations: myths or realities, to be able to recreate them in a kind of writing that was at once naïve, primordial and revealing. Those old symbols – sun wheels, imprinted fish, birds, imaginary fruits – later began a slow metamorphosis. I wanted them to be more eloquent and clearer in their language. They became a kind of serious toys seeking to explain, to convey messages; they transformed and evolved in a context of different meanings.

The need for the real begins to manifest itself as an ineluctable call, the natural transition and the lucid will to assume a given historical moment. The events of the last few years in Latin America have produced profound changes and upheavals in all fields. Also as an artist, I have not wanted to escape from these realities. The singular changes that have shaken these worlds, the diverse forms of dependence have demanded that I think, feel and act in what I do, in function of a search that leads to an authentic and inherent expression of these peoples. A return to nature, oh how punished. It appeared to me essential and indispensable for its survival. Thus I arrived at my first landscapes: mountains, palm trees, the great plateaus crowned by immense skies, the mysterious and unknown jungle, the machines, the men….

Once again my old symbols invented a new anatomy, more real and specific, looking for the means to reach the widest communication. To provoke the imagination, to provoke the discovery of pressing realities of denouncing indications, to help the development of an authentic and legitimate taste. To ensure that the majority learn to perceive, that they are capable of cultivating and affirming their sensibility and their capacity for appreciation. To know how to observe the world around us, drinking from it the sources of ideas and creation through an intelligible and generous language, thus becoming its narrator.”

José Gamarra

Translated into English

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