For The 9.99 Gallery it is an honor to present “Vulcanidad” (Vulcanicity), an exhibition of recent work by Diana de Solares, who, in an abstract and geometric language, shows artifacts, sculptures, and paintings that, behind a formal vocabulary, invite us to share her thoughts on the world and the way in which we inhabit our spaces.


Using abstract language to reflect on the real world could be an unclear choice because of its poor specificity. However, for Diana de Solares this is a playful gesture and a philosophical posture that proposes personal encounters with the world, which she translates into her forms and colors. Thus the artist, for years, has taken walks in which she collects small debris, materials, colors, figures, and impressions that, if they do not have a meaning at the moment, once in the studio they combine like a jigsaw puzzle made of blocks that fit perfectly or color segments that make up a unit. Thus, each body acquires a different form and even a personality.


Many pieces in the exhibition use these found elements. Construction boards, collected more than fifteen years ago, contrast with perfectly produced MDF sheets, creating a dialogue between the perfect and the precarious, the found and the constructed, the historical and the recent. And it is here that the artist begins to wonder about our passage through the world as changing beings, which modify the environment; our voyage through objects and things, work, time, and spaces. These pieces still have rusty nails, several layers of paint, marks, wounds, and fit into a sort of composition capable of disarticulation, like all her other works in which colors and blocks occupy a particular place in the painting and relate to others in their ecosystem.


The “found” is also her color palette. One that she gathers from the observation of shared spaces, popular culture, and the landscape, and makes her work generate a slight and almost imperceptible thread with the local. For she mentions that an entity without color is a field divorced from human life since we inhabit colors.


Under these same contrasts and encounters, the artist reflects on the pieces of this exhibition titled “Vulcanicidad” (Vulcanicity), since, from her studio in Antigua Guatemala, the Agua Volcano is not only the constant horizon, but it becomes a symbol whose meaning allows her to reflect on the work, materials, techniques, and colors as entities that are “transformed and transmuted, and in the process devastate and generate,” like the Volcano that suffers from the same polarity between “chaos and order, rupture and unification” as she states in the text accompanying the exhibition.


Rather than referring directly to the Volcano, Diana uses its form as a metaphor that embraces a vibrant work, with sharp angles, slopes, declivities, peaks, and tensions between lines, shapes, and colors that are part of a landscape, her personal landscape. Her geometric language does not appear to us as distant or hermetic, but on the contrary, familiar and intimate: ours.

Diana also writes that her “colors tend to almost musical harmony, like a lava flowing silently on the side of the volcano.” Thus the pieces are presented to us: some subtle or mild and other aggressive and direct. Like the Volcano, which as a landscape enchants and as a body explodes, the pieces in the exhibition also occupy a place in space, and generate through their volume, shadows and reliefs. Therefore, more than paintings or sculptures, they are altogether objects, artifacts, and bodies.


Throughout the years, Diana’s work could be paralleled with architecture studies or to that of other artists, such as the American Frank Stella, the sculptor Thea Djordjadze, a native of Georgia, and the Colombian artist Beatriz Olano. But it is in her personal processes, in her mediation between material and intimacy, and between body and space, that her work interprets a world that appears in symbols. Forms and archetypes that she herself tries to decipher through observation and discovery. Diana de Solares is undoubtedly, besides an artist, a translator of the world that she explores. That is why her colors, symbols, and forms are personal references of a universe that is itself constantly renewing and destroying, breaking and generating, activating and resting, like the Volcano.