Her paintings bear all the hallmarks of good abstract art. They’re flat, proudly displaying their brushstrokes and little clumps of oil and pastel, their true nature as the hand’s markings on even surfaces. She toys with patches of transparency and opacity as did the likes of Morris Louis and Helen Frakenthaler. The just-short-of-piercing, anxiety-heightening points and edges of Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland make appearances. And she even demonstrates a flair for jamming perfectly mismatched pigments together that smacks of Picasso’s famous motley portraits of his many, many female muses.
Yet Victoria Ravelo’s brand of particoloured flatness reveals subtle and precisely applied layers, calculatedly aligned for an absorbing, spontaneous effect entirely her own.
How can such engaging depth emerge from the self-ascribed shallows of abstraction? By transmuting the constructions we choose to live out our days in. She begins each new piece by contemplating specific architectural spaces. In fact, those razor-thin perimeters that wash into broad planes and angles that slice through vertical and horizontal space do look as if they could be junctions where walls kiss floors and ceilings drunkenly reach for unseen celestial spheres.
By drawing in the foundations, erasing out non-essentials, and renovating where she sees fit, Ravelo lifts her chosen spaces from perceived reality. She strips them of their worldly context and remodels them into personal statements that act as cornerstones for new dimensions of uninhibited invention.
And there’s a hospitable glow about her unpeopled domains, as if the Miami-based artist is inviting us to trust in what lies across unexplored thresholds, to step in and think awhile.
For her choice of colour palette lends a plucky femininity to things municipal. Sourced from her tropical surroundings, Cuban roots and softhearted, easy going charisma: a cascade of frosted and blushing pastels, voluminous berry tones and rich, earthy washes that get umami flavours bubbling in the mind’s eye.
Her hues culminate in compositions that exude an intuitive animal magnetism, far cries from the cold geometries and apathetic blueprints that compose off-canvas buildings which rupture horizons in all directions.
By twisting other engineers’ dreams and spilling out her interior cityscapes, she assists us in mapping our own involuntary responses to the confines we sequester ourselves in. Hung on those same alienating walls, her paintings serve to remind us there’s always more out there, more to seek, greet, taste, decipher and embrace. Ravelo is one to watch as she continues intrinsically plotting out urbane zones both quasi-extant and rather more out of this world, using almost familiar but thoroughly novel visual languages.