Diana M. Cárdenas
After having created works such as Construcciones Ilusorias (Illusory Constructions), Debrís, and Vestigio (Vestige), artist Jaime Franco now presents the exhibition entitled Rastro (Trace). Curated by Ana María Escallón, the exhibition opened at the Museo de Artes Visuales of the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. It consists of large-format paintings on canvas and two other large works created directly on the museum wall. These images explore fields such as human perception, philosophical fundamentals, and mathematical principles.
Relying on the architectonic structure found in paintings such as The Marriage of the Virgin by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Franco creates reconstructed versions with the aid of a computer program. The initial drawings created in AutoCAD are exposed and accompanied by some written words such as "Vestige", "Trace" and "Insignia", words that defined and guided the exhibition-drawings toward a structural principle from which a series of drawings was generated. It is at this point that the process of abstraction commences once the image has been resolved in a clearly rational manner. It is then intuitively reinterpreted on the canvas by the insertion of structures inside the pictorial images; therefore, it is a process that involves modifying, layering, superimposing, and reproducing.
Through the representation of architectural places, Franco explores and evidences the vulnerability of mankind, the ambition with which we attempt to construct part of our history, and the unavoidable mark left by the passing of time on each of our creations. Rastro points to things that disappear. From his point of view and the surveying gaze that he exercises in these ways of seeing, Franco encounters a sort of continuous low pitch that structures and surveys, modulates and creates resonances within the context of the existing differences, that establish continuities in temporal discontinuities.
This is the way that we observed how the Jaime Franco abstractions are the result of a process of reinterpretation and analysis achieved through the geometrical, mathematical, and architectural study of several objects or constructions that were also, at some given point, the product of interpretation. Franco utilized unconventional materials such as clay and sulfur to create the work in part because their ephemeral, malleable, and fortuitous nature underscores the unavoidable marks that the passing of time leaves on mankind’s every single creation.
For Jaime Franco, the process of elaboration of the work is as important as the final result. It is through an exercise of abstraction of the objects or constructions that a new image is obtained an outcome that is very difficult to foresee. The images in the Rastro exhibition share in common the fact that they are not the result of rigorous calculus, precision, and construction exercises designed to make us aware of structural loss due to entropy or declassification.
The final images reveal the processes involved in the realization of the work. Through the various traces and layers of paint emerge the transformations undergone by the original object in order to arrive to its point of abstraction. Franco affirms that his paintings can be seen as the remnants in a battlefield, which suggests that the process of the work’s creation has been captured on each canvas.
The culture of referents is a constant element in Franco’s work.
However, they not only permeate the visual and conceptual realms that they themselves generate, as the artist’s approach also resorts to referents from other disciplines belonging to several periods and cultures.
Notwithstanding the clear references to the linear traces of the buildings, Franco’s images achieve a surprising degree of unity. They share many elements in common: they are all prodigious images that are completely uninhabited and rich in graphic elements marked by vertical and cylindrical accents.
Jaime Franco’s paintings are free from many formal constraints. They do not require the use of grids as references to render the traces as these actually emerge from an analysis of the structures, patches, and accidents on the canvas or to communicate new and intuitive emotions. Instead, his freer approach ensures the expression of a completely open chromatic universe.