Prudencio Irazabal

1954, Puentelarrá / Álava, Spain
Lives and works in Madrid

He studied Fine Arts in Sevilla and Barcelona and completed his studies in Columbia University, New York, where he moved in 1986. For the next two decades, this city marks his creative and professional development as a painter. After a period of research confronting the elements of painting in terms of irreducible facts, colour and light became the main concern of his work.

In the early 90s he begins to photograph in the microscope cross sections of his own paintings. The intensity, concreteness and material truth he found through those photographs revealed the contrast and the correlation between simple, raw materials and the more inscrutable and transcendent nature of painting. Through an analytical use of the components of material colour, he developed techniques to transform chromatic ideas into stratified blocks of paint whose colours were susceptible of being subsequently reassembled as an illusionistic surface.

The relation between surface and depth becomes vital for the understanding of his abstract images. Colour, mediated by the transit of light through paper thin layers, constitutes in his works a unique perceptual experience. This merging of translucent layers shapes the incoming light but allows the eye to traverse them through to the white canvas. Since there is never a fixed distance between the moving eye and the specific layering in a particular spot, the precise location of colour remains always unclear. His paintings are transparent and open, but while offering dense surfaces of radiating colours and deep spaces, they are also concealing all traces of gesture and evidence of the process used to suggest something beyond the painting.

Irazábal’s paintings are defined at once by extreme luminosity and the emotional intensity of a complex colour devoid of narrative and simbolism. They keep an ongoing challenge to unite the certainty of materiality with the unreliable nature of perception in order to synthesize image, materiality and meaning in the timeless effort to paint the things that cannot be painted.

He has exhibited his work in New York since the early 90’s. He also presents his work regularly in Germany, Italy and Spain. His works are in the Collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Fundación Helga de Alvear, Cáceres, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid, Artium Museum, Vitoria, Akzo Nobel Foundation, Amsterdam, H+F Collection, Rotterdam.