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Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see. Paul Klee

Artists

Aguirre, Mari­a Inés - VM - Jonathan Evens

María Inés Aguirre (MIA): Gracia Purpura

A Solar Flare of Colours

by Jonathan Evens

The work of María Inés Aguirre (MIA) is known for its vibrant colours and spontaneity. It is her response to nature, music and her emotional and spiritual life. She has identified words of Paul Klee as describing her own creative process: ‘Everything around me dissolves and interesting works emerge as if of their own accord. My hand is entirely the instrument of a distant sphere. It isnʼt my head that is working, but something else, something higher, something somewhere more remote. I must have great friends out there – obscure, but also brilliant – and they are all very good to me.’

MIA’s identification with Klee’s description of creativity as involving a sense of giftedness from a higher force helps us in understanding the emotional impact of her work more fully. MIA speaks of emotions being inherent in colour and line. By following these lines and colours she is led to the image. Risk and adventure and the resulting spontaneity are key to her art. Her work fuses colour, music, emotion and nature in ‘a sun-burst of colour, of joy and imagination.’ Each painting, MIA says, ‘is a solar flare of colours.’ As Michael Hutchinson-Uzielli has noted, ‘MIA's paintings map her emotions and imagination with colour, texture and sinuous lines depicting the landscape of her thoughts.’

Gracia Purpura exemplifies this approach with minimal but lyrical lines forming mountains, bands of cool blues and ripple-like lines conjuring up the Jordan river. These lines and bands of colour coalesce around the central figure, highlighted on verdant green. We are invited to behold him as central to this image, as he is – as the voice from heaven states – God's beloved son, who is at the centre of salvation history.

In a Christian context such an approach of risk, adventure and spontaneity can be described as an experience of the Holy Spirit inspiring or coming on the artist. Certainly that has been my experience both in creating and preaching. I will often reflect or meditate on an experience, a song, an image or Bible passage by carrying it around in my mind over several days or weeks. When I live with it for a period of time I find that, at some unexpected moment, a new thought or idea or image will come to me that makes sense or takes forward that on which I had been reflecting. To my mind that is the Spirit coming and making connections, bringing clarity, making sense.

MIA’s work has connected with traditional religious iconography, although not with traditional outcomes. Her ‘Via Crucis’, ‘Via Lucis’ and ‘Via Cordis’ exhibitions have engaged with the imagery of the ‘Stations of the Cross’, the ‘Path of Light’ and, most recently, the ‘Way of the Heart’. Through these series she has reflected on emotions provoked by the Passion of Christ, while seeing that narrative as also representing the different moods of modern man. These are works to contemplate, as through energy of line and brilliance of colour they refresh the soul.

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María Inés Aguirre (MIA): 
•    Gracia Purpura, 
2014, print on Hahnemuehle paper, framed size 71 x 102 cm. 
•    It was for Us2014, oil on paper, framed size 71 x 102 cm.
•    Pietà, 2014, print on Hahnemuehle paper, framed size 71 x 102 cm.

María Inés Aguirre (MIA) was born in Entre Rios, Argentina. She studied Fine Art at the University of Tucumán (Argentina) and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, Italy. She has exhibited in Europe, Asia and the Americas and has shows later this year in Hong Kong, France and Argentina. Her fascination with the connections between music and colour led her to become the first visual artist in residence at Steinway & Sons, London, where she transformed a Steinway Model D concert grand piano into 'Dancing Soul'. She is represented by ArtMoorHouse - Moor House, 120 London Wall, London, http://www.artmoorhouse.com. For more information and images please visit www.mariainesaguirre.com.

Jonathan Evens is Priest-in-Charge at St Stephen Walbrook and Associate Vicar for Partnership Development at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, England. A keen blogger, he posts regularly on issues of faith and culture at http://joninbetween.blogspot.co.uk. His journalism and art criticism ranges from A.W.N. Pugin to U2 and has appeared in a range of publications, including Art & Christianity and the Church Times. He runs a visual arts organisation called commission4mission (c4m), which encourages churches to commission contemporary art and, together with the artist Henry Shelton, has published two collections of meditations and images on Christ's Passion. Together with the musician Peter Banks, he has recently published a book on faith and music entitled The Secret Chord.

ArtWay Visual Meditation June 28, 2015