by Juan Acha
“…In truth, Gioconda Rojas offers us a set of images, stains and familiar words which do not obey the desire to narrate a fact but rather aim to give visibility to lyric worlds with an unequaled aesthetic intensity. To this end, she cleverly limits herself to accentuating the narrative capacity of each figure, stain and word in its own isolation, which in itself hinders narration. Her seldom encountered aesthetic intensity, which emanates lyricism, is the result of a deft creation of atmosphere achieved with subtle, harmonious and suggestive colors.
In addition, it is accompanied by the admirable manual mastery through which the author unfolds her half-graphic, half-pictorial style. Hers is an iconography that renders poetic her elliptical themes, her rich aesthetic weight and her attractive graphic-pictorial style.
Every part of Gioconda Rojas’ works is directed at our sensibility, whether this latter be impelled to improvise an aesthetic code or to dust off one of those in the attic of our collective memory. It is then that the possible meanings of each figure, stain and word are united through the reactions provoked by how each image is drawn and painted, and how the figures and colours have been strategically placed in the overall pictorial surface.
Each work is presented to us as a revitalizing rush of fresh water in the sought after plurality of Latin American painting. In this field, a place of honor should be given to Gioconda Rojas’ works, whose aesthetic wealth promises an increasing continuity and variety of future pictorial achievements.”
Mexico DF, May 1993.
By Efraím Hernández
“…The transparent luminosity of her surfaces, achieved through velature and layer-work, is an important part of her aesthetic vocabulary and confers a suggestive and ambiguous spatiality to her paintings. Over these luminous spaces wander figures, characters, objects, thoughts; emotions and phrases that the author allows to escape and, like an echo, feelings and ideas resound on the surface of the canvas.
All the figures that populate these abstract spaces come and go; sometimes walking, others running, floating in orbits of return and departure that are an important metaphor for life’s change and constant transformation. This is the central concept of Gioconda Rojas’ paintings.
As encounters or non-encounters, the images appear or escape from the cloth, constructing the great metaphor of the eternal flow of things, of the constant transformation of life’s experiences, of the uninterrupted passing of existence, a key concept in Gioconda’s painting.
Float, run, wait, walk. Rock in infancy’s hammock, follow the tracks towards the future, let oneself go, put up resistance. Shout or “keep silence” in a transparent jar to appreciate its aroma alone.
Stay or travel, anything is possible immersed in the lyricism of Gioconda Rojas’ canvases.”
Efraím Hernández Villalobos
San José, May 1999.
G I O C O N D A
R O J A S
D E S D E O T R A S
F R O N T E R A S
By Ronald Christ
Bright transparency is the most delicate of ambiguities: “we see to” by “seeing through”, and if the medium´s right, we see the two – outer and inner, surface an soul- and we do all this by means of light. Gioconda Rojas makes this delicate ambiguity her matter, and the medium of acrylic washes her method´s match to that matter. Light, of course, is the only subject of true painters, and its hers –radiantly-, glowing and gleaming around and though her objects on thin and textured whites that horde every hue, “Write me”, one of her titles reflexively implores “something about the light”. (“Escríbeme algo de la luz”).
So, in her work we typically confront layers or views of her situation and unnarrated story, for this work is personal, intimate, relying on the idiom of private narrative sings – a semiotic that the distinguished critic Juan Acha admiringly noted. We may be glimpsing her daring sojourn in Switzerland, where she went without the language to speak or the connections to depend upon, in order to confront the international art world, and broke through with the message of her art. Or we may be glimpsing her stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico and we will see as well as read, in both scenes, what she shows simultaneously in a vertical view from above and a horizontal view straight on. Her view of La Habana, as well, is to and thorough a window, in front of which poses her self determined icon of a chair. “You always need a chair, don’t you?” she smiles, hinting at the universal status of her repeated objects. Like the bicycle, which figures as a means of access and escape, fun and flight –as well as a decorative motif in which its linked images trace an abstract pattern, until with the second sight Rojas bestows, we grasp the ordinary and concrete in its unfamiliar filigree, as in “PRIMERA ESCENA: 25 AÑOS” (First scene: 25 years)
There is then, something lyrically cryptic as well as evident in these familiar objects. Rojas writes her letter to the world, her pictorial letter to the cities and people she has known (and gets to know by painting), and like Emily Dickinson she writes them slant, CON SOLO HILO (Only with Tread) may discover the covered beneath of the covering of any woman´s image, the text beneath the jacket, but it does not give away the mystery. That is to say, Gioconda Rojas recognizes and portrays translucence and transparence as ideals at the same time that she heeds the solidity of the real. She does not lay herself bare.
Because she does not, there is also room for your story in her work. (“TANGENTE” in part reads “Your world and mine”) In the best sense of a term too often discredited, Rojas is Existencial. Her “I” addresses your “You”. She says “Thou” to the word, which is what Martin Buber taught us people who reverence the experience of others along with their own, who recognize powers beyond their own, always do. In her evocative painting called “IF YOU SURVIVE”, the title phrase occurs as “If I survive” –we are all in this together-, and that phrase is underwritten by her phrase underscoring the human condition: “It won´t be easy”. In “CÉST RIGOLO??” (Is it funny?) she has inflicted burns along the edge: “Sometimes you have to hurt the paper”, she reflects. Sometimes the paint drips down too, often enough in reds and blues, the colors of blood, within her word of squares patched like isolated and overlapping scrims.
Gioconda Rojas records, then, as well as discovers. She celebrates those activities, even when there is pain. Which is to say that she faces life and courageously steps toward into it, on and in her own terms; and looking at her work you may too. Let he dotted lines of her drawing, the aftermath of her father´s engineering draftsmanship, signal to you what they signaled for him and now do for her: the vision of what cannot be seen because it is not yet there.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.