Martha Zuik (1941 - )

Árbol (1991)

Oil on canvas
height: 100cm
width: 120cm

Donated by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires 1996


As with Fuegos Artificiales (Fireworks), chance and play form the basis of Arbol (Tree). Zuik composed this oil on canvas by placing coloured designs in a totally random way and very quickly: so as not to give herself time to think about where to put them. This element of chance gives the composition a vibrant feeling but the painting's energy is also created by Zuik's use of colour. The dark, deep blue background allows the white, red and yellow blossom-like elements to leap from the two-dimensional surface towards the viewer.

While the colours in this image do not immediately recall a tree, the overall form, with patches of light and dark and soft edges, does evoke the crown of a flowering tree emerging from a thick trunk. Zuik often finds resonances of the natural world in her random compositions, as though the hidden aspects of nature were revealing itself through her artistic practice. In 1991 Zuik painted another oil on canvas with the title El árbol y los pájaros (The Tree and the Birds). Again there are no clearly defined forms in this painting but the blurred patchwork of forms in macaw-like colours do echo the tail feathers of a brightly-coloured bird emerging from the branches of a tree.

Joanne Harwood, 2008

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