Reversos del espejo
24 December 2016

24 ball point pen drawings on paper

Sizes from 50x70cm to 120x120cm.

These drawings by Elian Stolarsky speak of a young, bold, and very daring woman that has chosen to create a world and an atmosphere through the ancient art of drawing; an art that has accompanied mankind from the beginning of time, time incommensurate.
I met Elian when she was no more, and nothing less, than a teenager. She was beginning to attend the workshop that Tunda Prada and I have been leading for over seventeen years now.
The workshop allowed Elian to address various approaches to drawing, whether basing herself in the direct observation of reality or by relying on photographs of characters from culture, politics and art. Her work started to drift towards a sort of dramatic lighting, and she began to draw from photos that finally fit her particular way of representing light or chiaroscuro and how this affects faces, torsos and hands. That’s where her drawing becomes more personal.

I’ll try to explain myself better; what Elian chooses to draw carries a latent form of looking that somehow prefigures her artistic adventure. That dramatic gesture that is manifested in her mothers with children in their arms, in old men or women darkened by the lack of light and their wrinkles, all of which is the core of her work.
However, what Elian draws is not exhausted in description, though she may allude to an exasperated, sometimes twisted look. There is also a playfulness that comes from the motley woof of her accurate sketching and that covers almost the entire surface of her work. It is perhaps most evident by the intuitive use of the silences or pauses where the white paper shines when contrasting with large areas of darkness created by the stains that the pen leaves on the cardboard. Only in some cases does Elian resort to the use of another color. When she opts for a red pen this option manages to balance those spots with the black base and with the blanks of her complex compositions. It is at this level where Elian becomes bolder. There is no strict composition nor measure; rather, it is an intuitive approach that compensates and levels irregular patches and shapes on the surface of the drawing while she creates it. There is another particular aspect in her creation: her choice of format. It is not common to use such large sizes for drawings as meticulous and densely detailed as hers.
Elian fights with her drawings; the passage of the hand over the paper comes from a boost of physical energy from the pen that hurts the cardboard surface, where effort provides a dramatic expressionist gesture to images.
Human figures, bathed in a surreal light, emerge from the paper with unusual force, as if they suddenly peered out from behind the lattices of the pen on the white paper.
They are men and women, even anonymous children, however, they seem familiar to us due to the truth of their appearance. A truth that Elian manages to transmit through her strong yet subtle strokes.

I do not know, nor do I dare to determine the timeliness of Elian Stolarsky’s search.
I do not know how, nor do I dare to classify her, to lock her in the drawer of a rigid definition.
I do not know, nor do I dare say if she is in tune with the creations of colleagues from her generation.
I do not know if her aesthetic is or is not fitting to what is in vogue.
I do not know if she is part of the zeitgeist (spirit of these postmodern times), this end of art and history that has been advocated for quite some time.
What I do know is that Elian cannot live without drawing, that she is moved by a vital boost as vigorous as the strokes that make up her drawings, and that she is not affected by the fear (that fear that is so hard to lose) of scribbling on paper.
I think that in the case of Elian Stolarsky we may as well use the phrase of Shih T’ao, collected in the book “Art and places” by Catalan artist Antoni Tapies: “I talk to my hand, you listen with your eyes. ”

FERMÍN Hontou (Ombú)