José María Sicilia (Madrid, 1954) is one of the most preeminent representatives of Spanish painting in the Eighties. He embarks upon his artistic career in the San Fernando Fine Arts School in Madrid and then subsequently moves to Paris, in 1980, where he meets two other equally important Spanish artists of the time, Miquel Barceló and Miguel Ángel Campano, along with José Manuel Broto and Ferrán García Sevilla.
After his arrival in France he begins working on large-scale pieces as his painting undergoes a constant process of evolution. His work is organised into pictorial series which join still-lifes and representations of tools and domestic utensils (hoovers, irons, scissors, bins) as well as the urban landscapes of Madrid and Paris.
During the middle of the Eighties he gains recognition in Spain, France and New York with a set of paintings defined by their freedom of expression, violent colours and dynamic strokes. His individual exhibition in 1982 in the Trans/Form Gallery in Paris, the presentation of his work in Spain in 1984 by the gallerist Fernando Vijande and another individual exhibition in the Blum Helman Gallery in New York expound the beginning of a career that has consolidated his place in the history of contemporary Spanish painting.
The collection of works in the exhibition, held in the Palacio de Velázquez in Madrid and comprising twenty-six canvases, the majority around three metres and in a square format, are also joined by sixteen pieces divided into two series of long and extremely tall works. These all make up part of José María Sicilia's recent body of work, the result of a long period of research and testimony to a deep transformation.
The flower image, appearing for the first time in his New York works, is one of the few figurative traces that separate the artist from complete abstraction and is the most salient motif in the exhibition. The canvases that appear here, all produced in acrylic, encapsulate a way of conceiving painting that descends from geometric art, whilst also interspersing family resemblances that depict Abstract Expressionism.
The artist himself has actively participated in choosing the works that make up the exhibition from those that were displayed in the CAPC Musée d’art contemporain in Bordeaux at the end of 1987. These pieces reach the exhibition spaces of the Palacio de Velázquez as a compact group of paintings that reflect Sicilia's solid and long-lasting career.
CAPC Musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux (September 25 - November 22, 1987)