Paula Quintela_poliptico_con ojos y deintes_with eyes and teeth

El Viaje (The Journey) 2021/22

Etching with hand colouring and chine collé
paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle 170 c
m x 90 cm

CON OJOS Y DIENTES

{ WITH EYES AND TEETH }

"For Quintela, the forest, represents multiple dualities, as a link between the earth and the sky, connecting the spiritual world with the physical.

Born in Chile, raised and educated under the Pinochet regime, she attended art school under the shadow of an overbearing malevolence, before eventually relocating to Queensland. 

 

This exhibition brings to life the multiple inhabitants of the forests of her memory, the forensic traces of the disappeared, the magical rituals of her indigenous ancestors and the wonder of new growth."

Cassandra Lehman  (Artisan Curator)

La Noche en el Bosque

{The Night in the Forest}


2021/22
Etching with hand colouring and chine collé
paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle 144 cm x 104 cm

The nuns asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered that she wanted to be invisible. A girl child has entered the forest and is embraced by the fantastical world of the trees.

 

The trees have eyes, staring in every direction. There is no place to hide. The trees bear witness, holding the souls of the lost, of the hidden and the disappeared. There is light in the darkness, self- generated by the organisms, the creatures of the forest.

The child is herself generating this same energy, she is learning to self-nurture. She has four arms, in one she holds a smaller child, controlling her and calming her tantrums. A pair of scissors in another hand are simultaneously threatening, protective and creative. A second child is held and nurtured protectively. In her fourth arm she holds an oversized cockroach, a symbol for survival, resilience, revulsion, and perfection of design.

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The Floating Forest


2021/22

Etching with hand colouring and chine collé paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on hahnemüle 152cm x 107cm

The sky is no longer visible. In the darkness, tendrils tickle the air in and amongst the undergrowth. Fungi spawn into glowing nodules, cross-fertilising and continuing to expand and emanate light. Sea creatures float in between the tree trunks, denoting the depth and quiet of an inaccessible world.

Separated from the land, between the ground and the sky is a place of precarious safety, where somehow there is air to breathe and water in which to gently float.

The references here point to a hybridity of faith and hope, of practices and rituals from one world, modified to fit in another.

“The roots I have left behind

cry out to me” 


2021/22
Etching with hand colouring and chine collé
paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle 147cmx106cm

The title of The work is a quote from Sonnet I, a poem by the celebrated Chilean Diplomat and Poet, Pablo Neruda. As a communist, Neruda was forced into exile.

Birds tap along the forest floor on a multitude of legs, in tiny red high-heeled shoes. Although the birds are winged, they dare not fly. The landscape is illuminated in the night, by the phosphorescence of the dwellers of the forest.

This work speaks again of adaptation, to and the new restrictions and expectations Quintela experienced, upon leaving her country of birth.

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The Whisperer


2021/22
Etching with hand colouring and chine collé paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle,
133 cm x 104 cm

In this work, the use of gold is representative of the artists memory of the ceremonial use of gold in the Catholic churches of Latin America. Quintela recalls the buildings being covered in multiple, thick layers of gold, painted and repainted each year as a symbol for the renewal of spirituality and faith.

The forest, for Quintela, is a church, constantly regenerating itself.

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El Susurro
{The Whisper}

2021/22
Etching with hand colouring and chine collé paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle
133 cm x 104 cm 

El Suspiro (The Whisper) and The Whisperer began as identical printed images. Only once they were coloured did they differ. For the artist, they represent an enduring duality.

The forest has, in numerous cultures, come to represented the ‘space between’, a symbolic link between the dead and the living, and an intangible connection between two worlds. 

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La Tormenta II

{The Storm II}


2021/22

Etching with hand colouring and chine collé
paper dressmaking patterns, ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on Hahnemüle ,

147cmx106cm

The sky is no longer visible. In the darkness, tendrils tickle the air in and amongst the undergrowth. Fungi spawn into glowing nodules, cross-fertilising and continuing to expand and emanate light. Sea creatures float in between the tree trunks, denoting the depth and quiet of an inaccessible world.

Separated from the land, between the ground and the sky is a place of precarious safety, where somehow there is air to breathe and water in which to gently float.

The references here point to a hybridity of faith and hope, of practices and rituals from one world, modified to fit in another.

TECHNIQUE

The process of engraving on aluminium is aggressive, and physically demanding. It gives the artist time to restrain and condense the spontaneity and emotional charge generated in the act of drawing. Quintela considers her printmaking to be a impulsive and reactive process rather than a method of precise control. As an act of rebellion against the strict academic approach to printmaking she was taught at art school, the process of making each of her images is unique and undergoes 3 separate stages, 3 different techniques, to which she has introduced elements of surprise.

The hand-engraved plate is submerged in acid repeatedly. Each time it is taken out, the levels of tonality, from white through multiple grey to black emerges and are selectively covered and preserved before being submerged again. Sometimes the artist allows a blend of water and oil to float randomly on the acid, to settle wherever they settle. Once the plate is finished, it is inked in black, and printed on a base of traditional printmaking paper.

 

Quintela then applies old, faded paper dressmaking patterns; golden hued tissue she finds in op shops and markets. By layering whole sheets and collaged pieces of this transparent material, she is fully in control of where and how the subtle markings align with the printed image. Glue is sprayed in layers on the surface of the tissue before laying it over the printing plate, with the glued side up. The printing process then creates a bond between the layers of paper. Once a bond is achieved, Quintela applies inks, pencils and watercolour.

 

The inconsistency of the glue results in the tissue responding differently to the ink and watercolour. Where the bond has been secure, the paints float on the surface. Where the tissue may not have fully bonded, the pigments may bleed into the paper itself. This dictates where and how the final image is coloured. Therefore she prefers not to call herself a printmaker or a painter as she considers herself to be both, and neither.