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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Blanca Lopez

Blanca Lopez

It is about relationships in the way color, space, or image connect to create a visual dialogue.
It is about perception and how that perception is translated from both the natural world and the imagination.
It is about process in the way the organic material behaves and feels like when it is pushed around and layered upon the surface.
Blanca Lopez

"Lopez was an IU Northwest alumna who passed away in 2011. Gallery Director Ann Fritz described Lopez as an accomplished artist who had mastered the craft of realistic painting.

“Her style was very unique, often with dark colors,” Fritz said. “Many of her paintings are divided in half, for example, with a landscape on the top and an object on the bottom.”

Fritz said the oil on canvas pieces that are on display run the gamut, from her very first paintings as an undergraduate, complete with comments from her instructor, Professor of Fine Arts Neil Goodman, to works previously on display at the Byron Roche Gallery in Chicago.

Lopez, a Beverly Shores resident and native of East Chicago, earned her bachelor of arts degree in Fine Arts from IU Northwest in 1992. She completed her Master of Fine Arts at the University of Chicago in 1994 and went on to teach at the American Academy of Art for 10 years. Lopez had a successful career as a painter, and her work was collected and exhibited throughout the years.

Goodman remembers well the talent he first saw in Lopez’s first drawing when she began attending classes at IU Northwest in 1988.

“It was a perfectly realistic drawing of a piece of crumbled aluminum foil,” Goodman recalled. “Every detail was exact. Both (Professor of Fine Arts) Dave Klamen and I looked at the drawing and immediately realized that this was both a very serious and very talented student.

“Her life was shorter than what it should have been but long enough to make a difference in so many other lives,” Goodman added. “She was both a friend and a person I admired. In the world that she lived and the people whose lives she touched, her star will always shine and radiate with her warmth, kindness and love.

“It is a fitting tribute to Blanca that we are able to bring her work ‘home’ for one last time. Life is beginnings and endings and in this way our memorial exhibition is a tribute to both.”"


Student work - Blanca Lopez

Predictable spatial definition has involved the creation of fragmented space, ambiguous space, flat space, shallow space, deep space which has been of interest to me since my last body of work in the late 90s. Earlier on, I had been working on a body of work that I referred to as the “White Series”. I had envisioned that that the isolated, often still life object, that occupied space on many small panels and canvases would at one point be viewed cohesively and as one body of work in which certain visual relationship(s) would be made. This did not happen. As a result, I began dividing the space in some of my paintings, and created what might possibly appear as disparate subject matter occupying the same plane, but divided non-the-less. It is my attempt to establish a relationship of sorts among subject matter. The relationship lies not only in the obvious depiction of objects, but within the varying depth of spaces.

Scapes, as traditional genre, have often been captured on a grand scale. My paintings are often encapsulated onto small panels where the amplitude of a sky, sea or land is confined. In the paintings in which the visual space is clearly divided, I employ contrast between shallow, immediate foreground and an unattainable distance beyond. In paintings where the space is no longer divided, the subject matter is more direct. My interest in using color to create light in my work began to develop some time before I discerned who the American mid-19th century Luminist painters were. I still admire the works by Heade, Bierdstadt, and Inness. My intentions differ in that I do not seek a religious or spiritual content in my work, but rather to create work that is introspective and metaphorical, incorporating that which is perceivable as well as imagined.

I began some of the paintings through the creation of experimental drawings, which are progressively becoming more abstract. Unlike my paintings, these drawings are often void of detail, and react more like shapes or mass, positive and negative shapes. In turn, the paintings may inspire the drawings. The seascapes and skyscapes are inspired by direct experience with my environment, which I witnessed as I traveled to different parts of the country. I document what I see through drawings, photographs, and research the scientific information on weather phenomena, creatures, and anatomy. Some of the Latin titles found in my paintings are direct descriptions found in taxonomy books that identify and describe every living being such as flora and fauna, insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals.

The paintings that refer to storms, whether approaching, passing or other, are metaphors that I associate with the passage and quality of time. When paired with insects or birds, they become narrative or allegorical. Prelude implies the anticipation of an unforeseen event; the bird, a whippoorwill, which is known for its illusive noturnal nature appears on the picture plane without much contrast and blends into the grey space. Golondrinas is intended to be an uplifting painting that provides some comfort within the underlying fantastic or ominous quality that some of the other paintings possess. While working on a body of work, I keep a number of paintings alive through the very end--that is, I work on various paintings through the completion of the body. What I find most valuable about working in this manner is that the work informs or cross-pollinates each other.

-- Blanca Lopez


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