Helena Toraño
From November 3 to December 10, 2023

“It is as startling and salutary an experience as it is valuable to ever lose oneself in the woods” Walden. H.D.Thoreau
There are scenarios that can be bucolic as well as disturbing and the forest is one of them. From folk tales, through classical mythology and linking with different artistic expressions of any era, the forest has always been there as a latent presence, as much a source of life and protection as a cradle of wild creatures, dangers and legends. Revelation and resistance. Enjoyment and melancholy. Exuberance and fear.
In the forest, disturbing and seductive at the same time, things happen that we do not see. It is a threat but also a shelter; it treasures ancestral knowledge and expresses itself with its own voice. Forests were here long before us, they are witnesses of history.

The air of the whole forest seems shaken, it vibrates, it is crossed by fleeting lightning” En el bosque. Ana María Matute
Nature has always been present in my painting and little by little it has become an essential element. So far I had portrayed it contained, domesticated, but now I want it to go beyond the walls and grow free, to invade the terrain and push us into its lushness. I want to capture nature in all its splendor from the fascination.
With this series of canvases I intend to convey the feeling of fullness that you feel when you take a deep breath in the mountains and the clouds are closer; when you walk among the trees and only hear your footsteps and the wind in the leaves. That feeling of not needing anything more than to be there, in that pure and uncontrived place where certainty has no place. It is then when you abandon your self-absorption and begin to pay attention to the environment.
Because the landscape is not only seen, but it is perceived with all our senses, we sharpen them to perceive more: light, heat, rumors, aromas… And you realize that you are not satisfied with just being in front of it, you want to belong to it.
This connection with nature is so primary and essential that it makes you feel part of it and not its owner; it makes you think in balance and harmony and not in the interests of consumption and abusive exploitation; it means enjoyment, admiration, respect and not abandonment, indifference or destruction.

Enjoy the earth but do not possess it” Walden. H.D.Thoreau
For all these reasons I try that in these new paintings the sceneries are not limited to be mere physical frames but that they merge with the figures; that one cannot be understood without the other.
I am increasingly limiting the human presence, which is still predominantly feminine and still presented in profile or with their backs to the viewer, hiding their expression, their gaze. Are they engrossed in their own thoughts, or on the contrary, are they attentively observing their surroundings? Whatever it is, my intention remains that of recollection, introspection, contemplation.
I also resort to fauna, another usual element in my painting, in this case trying to approach the imaginary of classic tales and fables to give the works a symbolic reading.

That romantic halo that could already be appreciated in previous canvases I think has been pronounced in these, where the figure, often alone, occupies less and less space in front of the immensity of the enigmatic and imposing nature. I look for each work to have more than one interpretation and that behind the apparent kindness and calmness, restlessness and mystery can also be perceived.
I am almost always inspired by real landscapes that have a special meaning for me, but I continue to idealize them through the forcefulness of the forms and the chromatic intensity. On this occasion, although I leave room for reds, yellows, blues and violets, I have proposed to explore more deeply the palette of greens, complex and infinite.
And in the same way that plants and trees are released, I uncork a little in my way of painting: I try to control and restrain myself less in order to enrich textures, add depth and create atmospheres.

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