Galerie Octave Negru, Paris, Francia. 1977.
How often we look for sexual symbols in an artist’s work – and with some justification.
«The sexual organs I draw are also symbols; they may represent a tree, a hill a river, even a word or a phrase from a love letter.»
In these few words, Amaral shows us how to decipher his drawings and gouaches, and then read them. For they are truly works to be «read»; but reading isn’t enough, we have to interpret them and translate them into a language that springs from our own sensitivity.
We can dispense with Freud, Jung, Adler. This American from California does not offer himself up for psychoanalysis by way of his paintings. Rather it is as if he reaches out to establish a semiological bridge with the brothers of our future and the strangers who are — for each of us — our contemporaries. Present, future … lite and death become one for Amaral, and his work is a reflection of both decay and birth.
lf we accord only a brief and superficial attention to this exploration before us, we perceive its erotic quality. But if the miracle holds, if contact is established, it becomes clear that this is his natural perception of reality. Not an eroticism whose strength lies in the taboos it defies, it is, instead, an obsessional vision, like an optical filter, which first reveals the sexuality of objects and beings and then, in all its richness, a bisexual univers where nothing is unequivocal.
His prodigious talent for the creation of signs, which enables him to develop with neither panic nor boredom. is equaled by a restless and complex experimental spirit which can only be satisfied by the most sophisticated mixtures of coloration and support, and the most meticulous preparation. Both in Europe and America, those who have seen Amaral’s paintings at least once, remember them. His vision has already marked this tormented «fin de siècle»
Both in Europe and America, those who have seen Amaral’s paintings at least once, remember them. His vision has already marked this tormented «fin de siècie».
—O.N. 1977 [Translated by Leah Poller].