May 29, 2023

After living in Barcelona, Paris, and Rome, Berta Cáccamo returned in the mid-1990s to her native Galicia, where she made “Horas felices” (Happy Hours), a series of one-line abstractions in which a thick, sinuous brushstroke expands across each canvas, folding in on itself like an intestine. The series lends its title to this exhibition, which brings together paintings by the artist dated from the late 1980s to 2018 alongside notebooks, sketches, annotations, and a collection of knickknacks and discarded objects.

These years map a trajectory, from the discreet informalism of her early output, to the embrace of a more autonomous stroke—slow and meandering—to colorful abstractions, to a more process-oriented approach open to various mediums and techniques. In untitled works from 1990, the paper absorbs the ink, creating organic marbling patterns. Other times, as in Blue, 1996, the brush is dragged so that, with the winding or straightness of the gesture, paint accumulates on the edges of the stroke or is dispersed by the movement of the bristles. From her own statements, we know that Cáccamo conceived of painting as a method of introspection where literature and philosophy also played a part. Here, we are deprived of her words, left to somehow content ourselves with a body of work cut tragically short with the artist’s death in 2018, at age fifty-eight. Seeing how the same motifs and colors emerge repeatedly in her work, we can fantasize that painting, even in the absence of its author, continues to converse with her.

Translated from Spanish by Michele Faguet.

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