Almost an image

There is something almost hypnotic in joining different materials. In Guilherme Dable’s sketches, even after the works are considered finished, the materials remain, each and every one, more or less recognizable: the white paper, which never seems to completely disappear and whose portions – namely, blank – are decisive in constructing the image; the graphite, the core of the lines, the core of the sketch; the acrylic paint; the aromatic bee’s wax; the oil stick; the crepe tape, which, even after being removed, leaves torn traces of its presence. As it happens, these elements, here, stand side by side in relative harmony, they never cancel each other out, nor do they contradict each other. Although they complement each other, they do not really mix. If there is tension, it does not become eloquent, thunderous. Before anything else, what can be supposed is the artist’s delight in continuously experimenting with these materials: what if the graphite, although affirmative, remains subtle? What if the oil becomes too diluted, bursting with will? What if the acrylic runs, spilling all over the crepe tape which will be removed?

In the sketches, the tension, if it exists, comes especially from the encounter of shapes, and maybe it is even more stimulating than the joining of materials. From above, a geometric shape comes forward in yellow, almost a harsh yellow, almost flat, briskly cutting to a black strip, which splits into two, each part a distinctive gray. Below, a series of spills appear, some in the rhythm of the diluted paint, others suddenly interrupted. Blank planes, graphite lines, some light green and a recollection of the yellow complete the composition. There is also the blue strip that accompanies the drawing in one of the vertical extremities, top to bottom. The entire piece is anything but limp, it is firm, vibrant.

Maybe it would be useful to recall something from the process of these works. Less due to the fetishist flavor that often accompanies the discourse on art (in an attempt we already know has failed to clarify the mysteries of invention), but, before that, due to the desire to try and better understand the reasons for its fascination. In its origin lies the observation of the world. Dable keeps his eyes attentive to the conformations of the landscape, from the broader landscape, where the skyline cuts the horizon down to the most intimate, domestic landscape, which speaks of, for instance, the way a chair fits a table. All the edges are interesting, the environment is full of them, all one has to do is look, from the bedroom window to the departure lounge at the airport. This huge and endless repertoire, the artist puts down in sketchbooks, pieces of paper, and in his own memory. At the moment the composition is constructed, this all comes back, but merely as a pretext. It is never about having a faithful base that must be followed. There is no huge attachment to constructive references, they come back only as a kind of echo, a vague recollection of the perceptions of worldly things and of possible representative synthesis.

The theme of the representation, dear to the History of Art since the beginning, remains open. In Dable’s sketches, which, at first seem abstract, this question returns ghost-like. There is only a remote identity between planes, the transparencies and the lines that are articulated and the world itself, the angles, the straight lines, and the edges that the artist envisaged in the space. These images become visible, in the sketches, only as suggestions, latencies, almost images, that insinuate themselves, but do not complete each other. In the joining of materials, in the joining of different shapes, in that which vibrates and hypnotizes the eye, there is something that celebrates, precisely, the absence, the incompleteness, the impossibility of separating the figure and the background. They remain together, at the same time, in the memory of something that has already been seen, and the promise of something that will never be attained.

Eduardo Veras