observe the transition of Fernando Ureña Rib from a testimonial
figurative Art to a surrealistic neo-abstraction Art.
The first method is both prudent and ambitious (never a brusque
rupture.) It is a measured experimental boldness absorbed in the next
phase. Thus, around 1986, the artist began to reinvent the World of
elements, forms and colors fully revealed towards the end of the
following year. His exhibition entitled Intima produced a singular
impact. Throughout this period of gestation Fernando Ureña Rib
appeared to remain faithful to the vibrant, figurative, oniric quality
of his human subject and to the expression of growth, expansion and
fertility in his vegetal themes.
Here we sense the throb of the "Tropic" (Title of another one of his
shows) and it climatic effects on both man and nature.
The poetic texts that introduce his catalogues- poetry is the "Violin
de Ingres" of the artist-, among the emotive phrases of anecdotes we
find the hidden key to diverse combinations, organized and harmonious,
always more committed to imaginary transmutations. In Tropico (April
1996) Ureña Rib says: "One begins to see the mirage, those
reverberations of heat which now melt the images and convert them into
a volatile, evanescent chromatic shape."
And later (Celajes, November 1996) "The river multiplied and divided
the last colors of the afternoon and was converted into an enormous
kaleidoscope of liquid and phosphorescent metals." While George Arzeno
Brugal justly observed, more directly: " Simultaneously, many of his
paintings take up once more the ancient theme of reflecting movement
and the displacements of bodies in space."
Through the real imaginary, the painter intensifies, idealizes and
converts life into a kingdom o f contemplation; a celebration of the
harmony superior to which we live every day. The depth of
simultaneities, rhythms, sequences elaborated by Fernando Ureña Rib,
and translate the complex interiors of the soul and the many ephemeral
impressions that flow in our perception and psychological reactions.
Despite the evident changes in the work of Fernando Ureña Rib,
principally in the free and fluid versions of our domestic flora, the
exhibition " Intima" with the collection of oils (for he has
maintained his affinity for that medium) provoked, at least in us
something akin to a shudder. This privileged visual shock, and emotion
is more frequently associated with listening to a piece of music. The
first echoes of Fernando Ureña Rib's last Metamorphoses which reached
us by means of newspaper reproductions, awakened a deep curiosity and
allowed us to appreciate the symbiosis of energy and lyricism that
exalts the values of the imagination.
Our pleasure was such on entering the exhibition room located on the
second floor of the Listin Diario, that when writing our column we
could not contain our euphoria: "Is it a risk to affirm that an artist
is presenting his best exhibition? It seems no more than a relative
risk in term of critical valuation, which aside from that is always
subjective of ...if one has knowledge of the artist's trajectory from
his professional beginnings. Naturally one speak of the best
exhibition to date-the future remains open.- We affirm presenting
without reservation that Fernando Ureña Rib is presenting his best
exhibition ( Listín Diario, December 1rst 1987) , and one year later
we maintain the same preferential criterion. The impact is still as
marked in our visual memory as when discovered the esthetic density of
that exceptional sequence. Previous to that delight, which results
from the individual contemplation of each work, one can be enveloped
by the spectacle of the whole.
Evidently the exquisiteness of color -inseparable from the quality of
life and form-the synthesis of resonance's, contrasts, tonal
subtleties, all converged powerfully into substantial optic
repercussions. Jeanette Miller once wrote defensively that "The
handling of color and of pictorial material prove secondary to his
graphic abilities" (Historia de la Pintura Dominicana, 1979) .
Yesterday the lifeline of Fernando Ureña Rib pictorial work was...the
line; Today, the richness and delicacy of the palette determine in
great measure the melodic line of his paintings. It is possible that
the artist consciously or unconsciously could have said to himself:
"They have repeated so often than I am a great draftsman-I am going to
show them now I am also a great colorist." Further, the initial
compositions in the series, dating from 1996, denote an unusual
search, tending to "mute" the leaves and stems suggested by
manufactured or other manmade objects. They insisted not only on tonal
gradations but also on the unctuosity of the paste and on a three
dimensionality achieved through chromatic emphasis.
We found then those two elements that are required for the domination
of color: The intrinsic beauty of each shade and the harmony, which
results from the combination of various colors, enriched by the subtle
range of tones.
The common denominator was present in all of the canvases. Some of
them in particular intensified the luminous elements, that it was
converted into a fascinating resplendence. Although a luminous energy
reigned supreme in this show, no fewer notables was the renewed
research of form. This aspect of Fernando Ureña Rib's work can be
classified as Abstract or neo abstraction, the morphological
representative of the known and identifiable World yields to imaginary
structures, and the accentuated study of form, color and light.
Transmutations of all kind (from carnal and floral to fruits and the
mechanistic) inhabit the atmosphere, this Being either substantial or
totally airy. On the bases of this magical iconography, we maintain
our initial denomination that this is essentially fantastic and
Today "surrealism" is not equated with a disorganization of the
conscious world, but rather with its profound reorganization according
to the internal dictates of the Self and the free functioning of the
inspiration. It is this reorganization, with its own laws of poetry
and harmony that we perceive in the Underworld, Oceans and Apologies
of Internal Song. ("Submundos",
"Océanos" y "Apologías del Canto Interior")