Untitled, 1977

Miami Beach 2018
Jorge Mara - La Ruche
Mixed media and collage on hardboard
67.0 x 50.0 (cm)
26.4 x 19.7 (inch)
The Uruguayan-born Washington Barcala developed his stripped-down, idiosyncratic style only after having moved to Madrid in the 1970s. Like Joaquin Torres Garcia, his famous fellow countryman, he employed humble, rustic elements. Another common trait was the artisanal, handcrafted quality of their work. Barcala’s choice of materials put his work on par with the Arte Povera movement in Italy. But it was not by deliberate choice, per se. He used the materials he had at hand: cardboard, cloth, wood, torn paper, thread, rope. His ‘poor art’ was driven by need and by an austere temperament. This gives his oeuvre a distinctive autobiographical bias. In the 1970s and 1980s his works were spare and poetical. With the passing of time and increasing economic and health issues, they became gloomy and fraught with somber apprehensions. His last paintings and collages are dramatic and disturbing. Examples of the two antagonistic periods of his production are presented here, and his work is rare as his output was small. Not only was he a slow worker but he was also indifferent to financial gain or worldly success: He concentrated deeply on his art and payed little attention to his career.