- GASTON ORELLANA PAINTER
Gaston Orellana, born in 1933 in Valparaíso, Chile, into a family of Spanish origin from Extremadura, is a Spanish artist among the most important after the war. This cultural marriage, between his Chilean roots and his Spanish heritage, has contributed to forming an artistic personality of international significance, with a work marked by experiences in the Americas, Europe and the United States.
Gaston Orellana begins his artistic training at Experimental School of Artistic Education of Santiago, in Chile, and then continue to School of Fine Arts of Viña del Mar. During his formative years, he also undertook archaeological studies at the Universidad de Chile, which led him to delve into the primary components of pre-Columbian culture, the traces of which can be perceived in different phases of his work.
In 1954, the artist meets the famous poet Pablo Neruda, starting an intense friendship that lasted until the poet's death. Towards the end of the 1950s, Gaston Orellana moved to Madrid, where he founded the Hondo Group in 1959, a milestone of the New Figuration, a movement that will receive wide response in the European context. The year 1959 marks another significant event in the artist's career - participation in the exhibition The New Images of Man al Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) from New York. This experience marks the beginning of his international success, which culminated in 1965 with his move to the United States.
During his stay in New York, Gaston Orellana immerses himself in the lively cultural context of the city, establishing close relationships with avant-garde culture and prominent personalities such as Allen Ginsberg It is Arthur Miller. In 1970, he was invited to the Venice Biennale with a personal exhibition in the Spanish pavilion. The exhibited works, including the famous painting the train on fire, are acquired by the well-known collector Joseph Hirshhorn for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC.
During his stay in Italy, Gaston Orellana experiments with new techniques, from glass sculpture in Murano to ceramics in Liguria, in Albisola, and fits into a fertile context of exhibitions. He returned definitively to Europe in 1986, where a major exhibition was set up at the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, curated by Germano Beringhelli. During this period, Gaston Orellana's art underwent a remarkable evolution, as demonstrated by the exhibition at House of Arts in Vigo, Spain, in 1995. Here the artist presents the new Orellana, with a painting enriched by techniques derived from terracotta work and the incorporation of themes of greater depth.
In 1995, the art dealer Christian Stein, at the Venice Biennale, declares that Gaston Orellana is the most interesting artist that Spain has created after Tàpies and Miró. In 1998, Stein organized a solo exhibition of the artist in her pavilion at the ARCO fair in Madrid. Gaston Orellana's last years show a further evolution of his works, with the adoption of graffiti techniques never before used in painting and the addition of collages of various elements, such as metals and antique mirrors. Through paintings shaped in the shape of letters and the use of multiple canvases, Gaston Orellana introduces a literal dimension to painting, while maintaining the use of metaphors. In 2005, the work Crucifixion n1 it is exhibited for the first time at the Santa Casa di Loreto, owned by the Vatican Museums. In the same year, the work the scarlet bed (NY 1967) is included in the exhibition Evil at the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi in Turin.
Gaston Orellana's work in the last period shows a marked evolution compared to his New York works. He begins to create colossal assemblages and polyptychs, using graffiti techniques never used before in painting and introducing collages of various elements such as metals and antique mirrors. With paintings shaped in the shape of letters and the juxtaposition of multiple canvases, Gaston Orellana brings painting towards the art of objects, communicating the literality of the thing in itself, while maintaining the use of metaphors. Gaston Orellana marked the post-war artistic landscape with his daring exploration of new pictorial languages. to date theGaston Orellana Archive, founded in 2018, is dedicated to the preservation, protection and dissemination of its impressive artistic and intellectual heritage.
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