ELENA NIEVES AND HER HIDDEN SUBJECT
By Luis Felipe Noé
In the permanent passing of conscience from the image, drawing has invaded the present time not only as a representation but, first and foremost, as writing. If, in the past, it complied with a function equivalent to the noun in the language of words –to represent something is to name it- since a decade ago, as a characteristic of this new century, it refers us increasingly to the action itself of drawing. That is to say, it becomes a verb. It alludes to abstract nouns or, globally, it suggests concrete names but as someone formulating a phrase in which abstract concepts interrelate with allusions to reality. This rebirth of drawing now occupies a privileged place within the conglomerate called visual arts. Since this is a new event, those who have been formulating this new function of drawing from the beginning of this century, have the merit of being the pioneers and Elena Nieves is among them. But, also, presenting drawing in this way she states it as visual poetry by making her own poetry.
Her drawings have the presence of something that develops. Therefore, if Paul Valéry stated that “the works of the spirit exist only in an act” –that is, in its enunciation, in its birth– the X-ray picture of that act is materialized in the drawings of Elena. Her drawings show her dialogue with nature. They do not refer to nature in a clear way. One thing is to name something and another thing is to show the loving act of caressing it.
The drawings of Elena, in my opinion, have a subject that is a symbol of her relationship with nature and another one latent: this is the love –abstract concept- that makes it feel it. Such as lovers that talking of various apparent subjects refer secretly to another one. Elena, leaving silent spaces, hiding secrets to be discovered and making an enchanting weaving where any obviousness is avoided, is referring to her capacity to love. And she does it in the most natural way. And that is why her apparent subject is nature.
Comparing drawing with the language of words, I spoke of nouns (the presence of things). In the case of Elena, vague references to foliages. I also stated the parallel between the action of drawing and writing, execution of a verb, since there is a live performance, witnessed by the works as footprints. But so far I have not referred to the third basic element of the language: the use of adjectives that in painting is fulfilled by colors. Elena does not use colors in her drawings and in fact in her paintings through them she develops the lyric of the accent. Nature is always present in her works. But now, how does she use an adjective in drawing? By contrast between what is drawn and empty spaces. Same as in music, beyond the big effects, silence fulfills a function between sounds. This shows how she uses adjectives. She does it without din, caressing the empty space, going backwards to be at the front. As a loving act of whispering somebody in the ear. What is hidden, she wants it that way.
Also, that is why, we secretly fall in love with her works.