Félix de la Concha | COLUMBUS CORNERED
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Columbus Cornered: One Season From Each Corner

 

Columbus, Ohio 1995-1996. 32 pieces of 18 x 29 inches (in four polyptychs). Oil on canvas on board.

Exhibited 1998: Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OhioIn the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art

 

 

My first major project in America consists of four panoramas comprising a total of 32 works painted at the corners of West Second and Michigan Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Painted over a one-year period, each panorama depicts a single season.

 

The series is based in a city of flat orography and a predominantly gray light. This uniformity in the horizon and in the light led me to create some mirror symmetries and correspondences from these four angles, creating particular rhythms.

 

I was supposed to paint in all weather conditions, including the harsh winter of the Midwest. And that of 1996 was even historical, inhuman. But the fascination of the snow made me persist even at minus 20º. And by then I was still without proper clothing. Even coming from León, one of the coldest cities in Spain, I had never suffered those icy winds in my life. I put plastic bags inside my boots. I tried as hard as I could until returning home to defrost by the radiator, eat something to resurrect, and back to the cold to resume my painting.

 

Finally I completed the whole series. Not only was it exhibited with great success at the Columbus Museum of Art, but remained as a permanent collection of the museum. The acquisition was made possible by a donor who had made his fortune making hula-hoops. As James Thurber said: “Columbus is a town where almost everything is likely to happen and where almost everything has,” [1]

 

[1] James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times, (New York, 1973), 60-61.

Text published in “America, the Beautiful”. Madrid, Iberoamericana Vervuert, 2014 ISBN 978-84-848-9769-9 Pags 235 -239


Notes on the exhibition

Columbus Cornered: Paintings of Place by Felix de la Concha

Columbus Museum of Art
June 20 – September 13, 1998

 

Spanish artist Felix de la Concha moved to Columbus in the fall of 1995. He wasted no time planting an easel in his Harrison West neighborhood at the corner of Michigan and West Second avenues to begin his first Columbus opus One Season from Each Corner. De la Concha systematically surveyed the scene from each of the four corners in eight contiguous views, creating a total of 32 canvases.

 

The artist encountered and was fascinated by what was for him a strange and exciting visual texture of architectural styles. His consistent approach to his subject, his impressive command of perspective, his expert handling of both draftsmanship and the oil medium, and his sense of light and color give the paintings the illusion of reality. Only upon careful analysis does one appreciate the conceptual virtuosity of the work and its overall rhythmic quality. The Museum’s exhibition Columbus Cornered allows us to view Columbus’s vernacular architecture through the expert eyes of Felix de la Concha, and to cherish its unsung charm and beauty.

 

Annegreth Nill
Curator of 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Columbus Museum of Art
Excerpt from the catalogue Columbus Cornered.

Félix de la Concha