The winner of the 2014 Prince of Girona Prize for Arts and Letters shows in this exhibition, titled White Paintings, a series of 20 paintings that make reference to New York docks.
The artist, born in the Asturian city of Grado in 1986, but living and working in New York for a decade, explains that the paintings on display are a selection of his most recent production. “The main idea of these pieces is the theme of the New York docks, but with a Japanese influence, more oriental than American, as if to give continuity to paintings of docks that I have already painted in New York,” he said in an interview.
Fontanela’s work, which has been exhibited in galleries and museums in various countries, is characterized by its references to nature. An element that, he explains, is a kind of reflection on current experiences regarding nature itself. “I believe in the conclusion that art must be a faithful reflection of the society in which we live and I believe that today, although there has been much debate about nature and the environment, not all art takes it into account. I believe that we live in a society in which there is a tremendous decline with respect to nature and an abandonment of the environment. What I intend to reflect with my painting is the moment that we are living, that serves as a testimony, in such a way that, for example, in a few years, my work may be seen and denounce such decline, or that it can portray spaces contaminated that no longer exist, or say: 20 years ago this person reported this and no one did anything,” he reflects.
Fontela, who enrolled in the School of Arts and Crafts in Avilés, Spain at age 14, and completed his artistic training in New York, clarifies that although his painting cannot be defined as denunciation, he claims it does have a social background: “I am very interested in the decadence of nature, finding the beauty in that decadence. I think that in the ugly, in the decadent, there is something pure, something mystical, and that is what I intend to capture in my painting.”