SYMBOLOGY AND GOLD LEAF IN MARÍA JOSÉ GALLARDO

Visiting the work of María José Gallardo is, at times, like entering a second-hand market, finding a space between its shelves and collecting the strangest things, most connected with the dark side of religion and death. Incomplete tarot decks, unpaired earrings, faded metal boxes, cracked photos, crosses and skulls, make up a sample of dissonant elements that, in the work of this artist, acquire meaning and entity. It is an invitation to an initiatory journey, a way that confronts us with an unexplored part of our minds and that often wakes up before the vividness of a memory.

Mariajosé Gallardo

El templo de las estrellas, 2017

Oil, enamel on canvas

81 x 65cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Catedral, 2016

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

100 x 81cm

Her artistic proposal is based on a mixture of styles that plays with the misunderstanding and the multiple possibilities of painting, such as her work "You may not be luminous, but you are a conductor of light" where pixelated vegetable motifs are identified, which could seem a blur cross-stitch embroidery or a 17th-century tapestry framed between scrolls of gilded wood. His pieces rarely include a single element. They are presented as allegories of the complexity of human thought itself, of the warp of ideas and sensations that link us with the object reality of our environment, and which the artist represents with an aesthetic that feeds on Rococo and Horror Vacui, on the Baroque religious imagery and contemporary illustration based on sharp contrasts and angular contours.

Mariajosé Gallardo

1917, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

100 x 81cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Coco III, 2017

Óleo, esmalte, pan de plata / lienzo

100 x 81cm

Although throughout her career María José has worked on several proposals with different and even risky themes, such as the series dedicated to Hitler and Nazism, an essential aspect of her work is the presence of the symbol. It is that element capable of condensing immaterial values that the social-individual attributes to the object. Many of her works recover those meanings, which go from the esoteric to the earthly, from the connections with religious beliefs to their projection on more mundane and materialistic aspects such as representations of power, wealth or social position. María José addresses these issues, respecting to a large extent the traditional depiction of these spheres, which preserve their particular aesthetic and whose artistic tradition goes back to the beginnings of iconography (religious or not) in the West. For this reason, the recourse to gold leaf and the reproduction of spaces of worship, such as cathedrals or temples, has a deep connection with spirituality and the way in which the collectives have transferred this spirituality to tangible reality.

Mariajosé Gallardo

Mascota. Cuervo, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

46 x 38cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Mascota. Gato, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

46 x 38cm

The works of the exhibition "In the enchanted forest" are a catalogue of magical beings, those who inhabit the usual corners of fairy tales and who make their appearance among branches of flowers and rays of light. But true to her style, María José displays all her pictorial potential in these pieces, which do not hide a dark side that faces the hackneyed "happy-ending". A narrative is thus constructed closer to the original story of Brothers Grimm. Her proposal looks at us frankly and offers a less truculent and real vision of the history in which we are all invited to participate.

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.