The Discreet Charm of Fluid Lines!
by Sandhya Bordewekar
Baroda. Esperanza Romero is a Spanish artist who recently spent about two months with her friend, artist Trupti Patel in Baroda, creating a suite of ceramic sculptures. At the end of this informal residency, Trupti helped her put together an exhibition of the works she created here at the Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery in the city in end-March. What came on show were stunning examples of dreamlike figurative images skillfully sculpted as fluid lines, and imaginatively visualized as pieces that came together cohesively in an exhibition. It was a fine example of how an artist, working towards a possible show in a limited time span, must imagine the work that needs to be created so that the gallery space could be well-energized with a presentation that is visually delightful and allows the artist to give the project her best shot.
Esperanza's exhibition could be loosely divided into four groups of work that clearly illustrated the artist's strengths in terms of dealing with content, with form, and with material. The general focus of the works was on the depiction of women. For example, in the five sculptures titled Journey, they stood large and strong and steady on a boat's prow, forever ready in the face of a challenge, natural or man-made. In the three sculptures depicting the standing women who looked almost like goddesses given their commanding and formal postures, Esperanza explored the self-assurance and confidence of women who know of their power. In the three larger works that showed women's heads in the context of large masses of hair, flowing or plaited, the artist appeared to be looking at women unabashedly indulging themselves, actually being themselves, for there did not seem to be a touch of vanity in these works. These head sculptures, almost classical in their treatment of the languorous female face, led to the fourth group of works the heads, all of which were superbly executed. There was only one work that stood apart from the overall thematic reiteration of images and that was the gorgeous and arresting, Feline, though here too the obvious implications of feminine and feline were subtly nuanced.
Esperanza Romero grew up in Malaga, Spain, and traveled to the UK to study ceramics at Camberwell School of Arts (1976-80) and later at the Royal College of Art (1982-85) where she did a multi-disciplinary 3-year post-graduation, specializing in ceramics. (Trupti was also at the RCA around the same time.) In 1988 she moved to Granada in southern Spain where she continues to live and work. Her ceramic sculptures are exhibited worldwide and recently some of her ceramic work was selected to form a permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Ceramics in Xian, China. Her work was also selected for the exhibition, Contemporary Spanish Ceramics held at the Spanish National Ceramic Museum of Valencia.
Besides ceramics, Esperanza is also a printmaker and a painter and has a great drawing hand. In 2006, her painting won the first prize in the Tunisian International Art Symposium. Her drawings have been used by filmmaker Julien Temple in The Future is Unwritten, a bio-documentary on the life of British rock musician, Joe Strummer; and her graphic material been used as backdrop projections for the Festival of Jazz de San Sebastian.