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Indepth Arts News:

"El Agua: Bolivian Photographer Gonzalo Contreras"
2006-12-06 until 2007-01-15
Museo Regional de Rancagua
Rancagua, , CL Chile

On December 6th, at the Museo Regional de Rancagua - Chile will present the exhibit: El Agua (The Water) by Bolivian photographer Gonzalo Contreras, color photographs, an installation and solarizations printed on canvas. The Museum has selected Gonzalo’s work as part of the FotoAmerica 2006 biennale.Gonzalo Contreras has been a Premiere Portfolio Artist at absolutearts.com since 2004.

Following is an introduction made by Juan Domingo Marinello of the photographer, for the occasion in which he also present his first book.

"This is a fascinating book, which is a result of the society established by Gonzalo Contreras del Solar and his camera, to perpetrate an exciting publishing adventure. The author’s faithful Rollei 6006 has accompanied him for more than twenty years on his lookout for the water in all his forms: rivers, ice, cascades, lakes, fountains, rain, and clouds. It represents a vast and vital scene that occupies around a million and half of cubical kilometers in our planet. Contreras has captured it visiting more than thirty countries, located in three continents.

"The author, from a very early age identified himself with the world of the art. First, he explored into painting, under a strong influence of Vincent Van Gogh. Soon, in search of a more personal expression, in accordance with his traveling personality, he decided to pursue photography. Later on, he studied photography in Mexico and Bolivia.

"Admirer of Ansel Adams’s work, the North American master, he became a diligent student and follower of his technical rules, which did not prevent him to develop an own and personal vision of color, the one he has applied specially in his series on Water.

"These photographs constitute a kind of ecological visual poetry, and they are the language in which “he writes” his experiences. His objective is to show –on an unusual way– what we always see. Being in love with the aquatic universe, the act to photograph is for him a kind of mutation of a first collective meaning. His talent as author always allows the final image to be a harmonious poetic synthesis of the real scene.

"Gonzalo Contreras proposes a humanist view of the forms and lights that water takes, a landscape that –it is noticed in each one of his pictures–, is not indifferent to him. The photographs of this book, which constitute his work from the 80s to date, have been a ductile way to communicate their poetic intuitions, looking for a kind of universal understanding. They represent a documentary and universal testimony of the intimate and solitary relation experienced between the photographer and the scenes that surrounded him. Through each one of these photographs the author lends his eyes to the spectator, attesting through an authorial registry not only the aesthetic visibility, but also emotion. He always captures de image in the culminating point of his idea.

"His photographs can seem casual, but in its true essence, they are difficult to do and require a second look to understand them. Behind these photographs, there are hundreds of hours waiting for one light, one magical moment, that ideal situation, between the limit of the fantasy and the real thing. They have a language that is a little mysterious, which is neither a lexicon nor an alphabet that is in direct contact with our unconsciousness. Contreras lends us other person's eyes for the exercise of the own perception.

"They constitute an intentional fragmentation that leads us to a totality by the footpath that the photographer marks. Gonzalo Contreras raises more questions to us than those that he responds to. As observers, we cannot ask the photographer himself, but we must interrogate his work. In this book, the images fascinate us with more force than their original models when associating our feelings with the proposed visual experience of the author.

"In this work everything is finally condensed in a few seconds of revealing “reality”. The photographer, alchemist apprentice, like all of us pertaining to this brotherhood, has fruitfully tried to make visible what others do not see. Each one of the temporary fragments that appear in this book is the summary of an incessant search of images that manage to reach us emotionally, stimulating our imagination, and that definitively, open a window to offer us new aesthetic and reflection horizons.

"During these last years, Gonzalo Contreras has explored into special techniques, such as the use of infrared film, and especially in the technique developed by Armand Sabattier in 1860, who altered the normal densities of a photographic image giving a touch of light during the development. Also called solarization, it was primitively used for black and white plates. Nowadays, in the case of the color, this effect produces unreal colors and images. The author, helped by the modern digital tools, has obtained a singular mastery in the use of this technique. When using the solarization he modifies the densities of the three basic colors that compose an image, producing surprising chromatic results. Prior to this book, Gonzalo Contreras del Solar made more than twenty exhibitions in Chile and other countries. His work, awarded and recognized, has been published in numerous magazines and sites of the Web."

Juan D. Marinello K.

View more of Gonzalo Contreras' artwork at http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/t/tacomal/.

Gonzalo Contreras Del Solar
Title: Grey Glacier Chile 673 4
Year Created: 2002
Medium: Color Photograph Height: 120 cm
Edition Size: 5
Price: US$ 3500

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