Good painting can be described in simple words, without detracting from its visual power or discursive richness. Therefore, when Chechu Álava describes her own painting work, she uses straightforward similes. She likes, for example, to compare her work to a matryoshka, the Russian doll that contains a series of smaller and smaller versions of itself. It's a thought-provoking image, one that hints at how a single painting can evoke many different aspects of the same universe.

 

Chechu Álava has lived and worked in Paris since late 2001. Having spent time living in London and Madrid, it is the French capital where her career truly took off. This success has meant that, on the one hand, she has been able to deepen her knowledge of the history of painting, and, on the other, she is now featured in private collections all over the world. Her painting work addresses themes such as gender and identity in an innovative and fresh way, and it mixes these issues with her more personal investigations into art history and how it relates to her own life story. Álava proudly pertains to the rich and universal painterly tradition, yet she is also committed to the collective task of its constant renewal.

 

As such, Chechu Álava has deftly created a style in which both the chosen theme and how it is manifest on the canvas are equally important. When she paints, Álava is aware that her actions require manual skill, visual incisiveness and intellectual clarity, but that she must also let herself succumb to other, far less obvious movements, which are more about chance, character and spirit. Despite the apparent simplicity of her paintings, the artist's practice is in fact highly sophisticated: she uses her own sfumato technique, which connects the represented elements in one unique time and space. Sometimes, her oil paint seems to be embracing, in its own subtle way, the entire world.

 

Furthermore, Álava's determination to construct an eminently feminine imaginary means that the woman has long been the central subject in her work, both in terms of thematic development and visual composition. From the very beginning of her career, Álava has shone the spotlight on women and their own particular life experiences; she has depicted their strength and talent, as well as their vulnerability. Her characters are not afraid to show their scars and weaknesses. They are profoundly human, and they inhabit a space of their own, in absolute control of the role they represent.

 

Chechu Álava thus specifically hopes that her painting can be used to help us reflect on today's world, and, above all, that it might let us glimpse other possible worlds. Her work is built upon an intense and peculiar aesthetic power, and it contains, within it, brand new interpretations of familiar themes, just like the aforementioned Russian dolls. We at Galería Alegría are delighted to welcome her personal pictorial universe, manifest as it is in paintings that provide a unique space for the artist and spectator to engage with each other.