Something just happened; that is certain.
“The way these individuals are standing and their demeanor makes you wonder if there is a relationship between them, and what are they thinking about…,” says Elena.
The Orinoco Delta on the map in white
Elena Bonny, the Spain-based artist, was inspired to paint Amanece while on a trip to the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela.
“At the time, what caught my attention were the individuals and the light of dawn reflecting off the water,” she says.
The title, Amanece, is a Spanish word, with a beautiful sound; there are traces of amor, or amorous embedded – like trace minerals or a bed of silt – in the word’s sound.
But, Amanece does not mean love. It means “it’s dawning.”
It is a complex and confounding word that applies to both the morning setting and to the notion of revelation between the figures. The reader defines Amanece.
Elena puts the tired phrase “what you see is what you get” to rest with this painting. There is something more; the painting engages the mind as well as the eye.
What you see: a man, a woman, and a dog on a dock on a chilly morning. The woman looks towards the man. The man looks down towards the dog.
What you get (but cannot see): the complicated relationship. The belated feeling that you have missed some prehistory has led up to this scene.
“Amanece is really just the beginning of something, the ending is up to you,” Elena explains.
This blue narrative feels dimly out-of-grasp. On the one hand, there is a sense of longing, perhaps even solipsism. But on the other hand, this opacity is what begets trust and faith; it awakens the viewer’s inherent willingness to know and understand the lives buried and concealed in another human being.
“That’s really what I want to achieve, to present a situation, to make the observer feel something and for them to create their own story,” says the artist.
While the figure’s postures and gazes seem to say something, the dreamy unheard quality of the painting – the foggy silence – keeps something tacitly sealed into the acrylic and oil.
The painting speaks through the paint – “I’m very interested in pictorial language itself,” she says.
This pictorial language, which in many ways surpasses verbal language, is the mode in which Elena can communicate this mystery. Her painterly voice is eloquent. It conveys the intricacy of the scene.
There is no tiny emblem, or clue, or explicative evidence that will cast the painting into high relief or clarity. Amanece is dawning, and will always be dawning. It is a process or an unfolding.
We can tease out all the questions and theories that flow at large from Elena’s painting.
Perhaps the message here is that this is a metaphor for the condition of life. It could all mean we are forever on threshold of understanding. That we are constantly learning, testing our theories against each other and the world around us. Maybe for us, as it is for the figures, we are always in some sense of dawn.
And Amanece could mean all these things, but, then again, can you ever know?