ISABEL SALUDES. Space, time and silence



Isabel Saludes. Space, time and silence

"In my work there is passion for the simple, making the most of the excitement of every moment: a light on a pane of glass, a herb, a fallen flower, the aroma of quince jelly or an apple, and putting it on canvas. For me, every work is a poetic moment." This comment by the artist gives us an insight in to her work, to the pictorial output of an excellent painter, with one of the most solid career paths among the artists of our region.

Born in Alforja (Tarragona), she studied Fine Arts in Barcelona. In 1986, she exhibits for the first time in the Catalan capital, specifically at the Matisse gallery. It is worth noting the excellent reviews she received for this exhibition, at which she already exhibited a work which, according to Francesc Miralles, "shows maturity and whose perfect execution does not make it apparent that this is a debut individual exhibition."

At the same time, Isabel was working as an art critic for the journal Serra d'Or, a job that allowed her to stay up to date with all that was happening in the art world. Therefore, we are talking about an artist who operates in two fields that feed off each other: theory and practice.
In 1989 makes her debut exhibition at Arco, and this was the start of her journey through international art fairs, as Assumpta Rosés pointed out, in 1991, when she said: "Isabel Saludes is one of the artists of our region with the most brilliant CVs. She has repeatedly participated in prestigious art fairs, such Arco of Madrid, Art Frankfurt or Kunstmarkt of Dresden." Two years later, her international stature becomes evident with a triple exhibition in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kitakyushu.

From this moment, Isabel has become the artist we know, with a consolidated work, her own language and a national and international reputation, as her extensive and comprehensive CV demonstrates. Among others, Daniel Giralt-Miracle, Maria Lluïsa Borràs, José María Cadena, Jordi Sarsanedas, Conxita Oliver, Glòria Bosch, Olga Spiegel, Maria Palau and Ángela Molina have written about her work.

Her work is characterised by her refined elegance that reveals her expertise to us, a mastery over art with which she has constructed her language, without cuts, without interruptions, in a process of decantation, of cleansing of forms, of investigation into colour and textures in search of the essential. The artist introduces her objects - flowers, fruits, leaves, bottles, iron grilles - into the space and the objects appear to float in a particular atmosphere. The artist immerses herself fully in a world of sensations and emotions, in which her artistry suggests more than what it depicts.

The combined result is a work that requires the spectator to observe it calmly: the possibilities are there, the pathways are open. In the same way that the artist becomes excited with any object or sensation that surrounds her, the spectator can enjoy what the work of Isabel Saludes offers them, the light that invades the spaces, the stillness, the silence, the passing of time, how it teaches us to appreciate the small things that sometimes pass before us without us noticing them, surely because, as the novelist Pearl S. Buck says, "many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness".


The space between the thought and the canvas is doubt (I.S.)
In the work of Isabel Saludes there is no specific time or space, despite this being a central theme in her pictorial output. In her spaces, indefinite and intimate at the same time, the everyday world and the world of memory, fiction and reality are combined. Her very first critics referred to the treatment of space, to how she constructs it, to how she produces a spatial reference from an object in which feelings and sensations are omnipresent. Thanks to the treatment of light, the spaces superimpose each other and disappear, and give the impression of being immaterial. Sometimes, subtle lines retain the expansion of light and dark, or warm and cold, zones. Her margins are not usually exact and allow the painting to expand beyond its limits.


To see simple things properly, it is important to be part of the silence that surrounds them (I.S.)
In the works of Isabel Saludes, objects have an unquestionable protagonism. For the artist, they are the element that connects her with the real world. Some are related to her studio, others to her family environment, and she gives them a special significance by transferring them to her painting, her private world. The polysemic richness of these works is surprising, in which we see objects de-contextualised, out of their everyday setting, which end up creating a dialogue with the spectators or, at least, entering their reminiscences, their memory.
They are everyday objects which, as Octavio Paz points out in one of his short poems,

"The objects":

Live alongside us,
we ignore them, they ignore us.
Sometimes they speak to us.

Open window, nature. And the unattainable outside world (I.S.)
In today's art, there are various currents that create a dialogue with nature in diverse ways, depending on the training, experience, the memories, the experiences, the environment in which it exists and their cultural meanings. In other words, each person and each artist have their vision of nature, with the symbolic meaning this implies. In this regard, in the pictorial work of Isabel Saludes, we can see that this relationship we referred to has been present from the very beginning. She constructs a backdrop which she manifests in many of her works, through both the treatment of light and their atmospheres; a natural order which is penetrated with vivid ambiences, which takes us to a very intimate world and which, to a great extent, is full of mystery.


Poetry is itinerary parallel to painting: it is also full of visual, chromatic and rhythmic elements (I.S.)
One of the constants that can be seen in the criticisms and comments made of the artist’s pictorial output is the poetic nature of her work. As an example of this interest shown by the critics, we quote a text by the critic and poet Francesc Galí: “Works of beautiful colouring which accredit, in Isabel Saludes, an exquisite sensibility, and her art of narrating through an extremely poetic language what in reality manages to become a memory or admiration.” There is a second aspect that is no less important: the poetic meaning contained in the titles that have accompanied her works since 1998, as well as the value of the poems she creates to cohabit her pictorial work.