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Jorge Dager / Artist

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Seven Masters of Venezuelan Painting

2014-05-26 10.56.05Still lifes and nature according to Jorge Dager

Dager visualizes still life with the new and magnificent way of looking at detail. His compositions are impregnated with a light that is captured in each of its strokes and causes radical shadows. His work contains new forms such as plastic and glass presented as elements of containment and appropriation of fruits, a fundamental part of its composition. Those who observe the painter’s works find it hard to believe that they were achieved by human hand, by virtue of the extraordinary realism that he manages to develop in his compositions. That is why his work was analyzed and valued by a group of critics of European Union art, and as a result he was awarded in 2002 the Salvador Dalí International Prize, which made him the only Venezuelan to receive this prestigious award.


One of the characteristics of Dager’s proposal is the close-up forced approach that brings the viewer’s gaze closer to centimeters of painting, and the focal frame that establishes the new way of still life, to discover hyper-realism in each section of The fruit bodies.


He made his first solo exhibition at the Galería Díaz Manzini (Caracas). Then he showed his works at the Ateneo de Caracas, the Museum of the Americas of San Juan de Puerto Rico, the Grand Bay Club of Miami and the Gallery 33 Praha (Prague, Czech Republic). A number of collective exhibitions are added to.


The work of Jorge Dager leads to one of the most important artistic traditions: still life. His work, even focused on a thematic genre successfully practiced by many masters, achieves an unusual fact: the stillness of its fruits, the immobility of objects that appear again and again in his paintings, speak of the present and our Condition of Latin Americans in the 21st century. In order to understand the richness implicit in the pictorial surrender a simple still life, we must specify even broadly the role that nature plays in today’s art, and specifically in the work of this young Venezuelan artist. We must also take into account, always with the idea of approaching or understanding the raison d’être of the paintings made by Dager, some problems of the current art, and to emphasize the relationship of still life with the great themes of tradition


This is the background of Jorge Dager’s work, a pictorial work that insists on returning man to his condition of observer, locating the areas of reality where it is possible to rediscover itself with a primitive and humiliated nature. Contemporary art does not admire the earth, with exceptions; It is not easily captivated by the simple beauty of a fruit. The still lifes of Dager are not perfect, as nature is not in any instance. Perfection, accuracy, absence of errors (absence of death or deterioration) will be in mathematics, but never in a fruit we see change, spoil before our eyes, indifferent to our passion for immortality. This is not always true, some international artists are still curious about natural forms and still lifes. But in Dager, painting praises change and the beauty


of those things that we know will not last. The fragility of color, the faint glow of a mango shell, captured under the shade, are all passing nuances that the artist wants to.


We can stop here and preserve other aspects of his work related to impermanence, but we would also like to mention the importance given by the artist to composition. There is a basic, elementary fact: Jorge Dager chose fruits as the subject or theme of his work. The artist initially thought of dedicating himself to the studies and the agronomic practice, a race related to the sciences of the nature. But he chose another path and dedicated himself for nine years, with discipline and in a dedicated way, with determination and patience, to study the techniques of painting with his master José Mohamed in Caracas. Nevertheless, the natural world remained there, at the very gates of his imagination and intelligence, playing a decisive role. Fruits are the source of everything, let’s start there. They form a microcosm that unfolds in a work that already reaches international recognition. Jorge chooses his fruits and then sets the puzzle: he builds the still life and studies it, photographs it, intervenes. Finally, when he is satisfied, he retakes it and begins to work with his model (the photographic image), altering it, adjusting it to the conception that his mind develops. Fruits are unrepeatable jewels whose colors harmonize, mold and alter to create hyperrealistic portraits that convince us. Dager can build beauty, from elements as traditional, as common as a basket of mangoes and grapes or a parchita or a huacal (guacal) wood. The beaters reproduce the structure of the wood kept in the cellar or in the field, but always with the signature of time, the struggle against change, the vulnerability of every act of beauty, delicate like no other.


It is important to emphasize that the still life has not been in vain a theme preferred by great artists over time. Precisely the genre offers a fissure by means of which one can, simultaneously, touch daily and extraordinary matters. All art, we are tempted to say, is a still life. The artist reorders, accommodates, arranges, as we do all mortals, and not only the privileged spirits with enough talent to dare to aspire to the status of artists. The still life is also a window to the banal. Just a glance that stops quickly by some of the corners of the house that we have arranged with particular affection. The still life – in whatever plastic tradition – would become the most humane and least pretentious side of Western art, our whole house can become, and generally is, an arrangement of things, fruits and objects. Still life is a minor genre of painting, but was practiced by Zurbarán, Juan Gris, Picasso, Caravaggio, Dalí, by great masters, contemporary artists and by Venezuelans throughout the XX and XXI centuries. Why? A good question and answer can help us understand Jorge Dager’s work. Unlike conceptual art or historical avant-gardes at the beginning of the last century, still life, like the landscape, can hardly help us to think. There is the literature or the narrative intensity with which contemporaneity has imbued the plastic tradition, but the still life lacks that ingredient. It is not meant to think or deepen a hidden symbolism, but let’s face it, gender has a powerful intrinsic force.


The still life is a still life that tries to undo the objects of magnificent stories or great interpretations. Intentionally it is about the most elementary and domestic: a plastic bag, a wooden huacal, a coconut, some tropical fruits. The objects that ignited the attention of the practitioners of the genre in the seventeenth century have varied little in relation to the present, if perhaps some object manufactured recently or some variety of modern style with the absolute continuity of the theme in the length of Time One Still life preserves an identity that characterizes and emphasizes the presence of everyday life like no other genre. And this is the vision of the world, offered by Jorge. Art, specifically painting, tries to translate a visual plane into an event that occurs in the physical or imagined reality of a person. If the world within which this event occurs, there was a significant slip in the valuation of artistic achievement. The pictorial universe of Dante-his still lifes-forces us to rethink this change, for the alterations of meaning produced by history have been stopped or postponed. The silence of his still lifes in the almost static silence, of a calm that escapes to the chronologies, of an idea of the art outside the time, where the things are trapped in an absolute solitude … The mango unknown the heroic outburst, but its Interrupted history we invite you to a strong aesthetic experience, without major intricacies. The realism of Dante catapults us to the basic, the most elemental of an experience, the contact with the ephemeral, with a delicate beauty in the process of destruction, deterioration, rot and not less perfect, such as experience when We visited the supply to the greengrocer. Still lifes go through our lives and go through every corner of our house and memory. His paintings tell us about the past of the man who faces the same spectacle, the physical memory of the object. I return to the sensation of the instant, when we can not wrap the experience

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