José Jorge Oramas: metafísico solar

16 january, 2003 - 14 april, 2003 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 2
Exhibition view. José Jorge Oramas: metafísico solar, 2003
Exhibition view. José Jorge Oramas: metafísico solar, 2003

The painter Jorge Oramas (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1911 - Tafira, 1935) is an example of artist whose short life was an obstacle to continuing a promising work already noted for its innovation in its infancy. In 2001 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibited Alfonso Ponce de León’s work, also a painter and whose untimely death cut short the development of his interesting work. Despite the differences -not only biographical, but also stylistic- the paintings of these artists deserves to be firmly placed in the Spanish art scene in the early decades of the twentieth century.

This exhibition features twenty-nine of only seventy paintings produced by Oramas. Dated approximately between 1932 and 1935, the vast majority are representations of the Canary landscape, full of light, through intense tones and essential clarity. This leads him to be called "metaphysical solar" as reflected in the title of this exhibition. The native vegetation of cactus and palm trees, intricate contours of local buildings and the sea of the island, are recurring motifs in his paintings that do not see the darkness of night.

Oramas immortalises privileged enclaves in Las Palmas like Marzagan, Tafira, Tirajana and the San Nicolás and San Roque cliffs which he could see from his hospital room when he was hospitalised for tuberculosis, the disease that took the life of his mother and which would also take his aged only twenty-three. In 1934 the painter was transferred to the Tafira Psychiatric Centre, where he was treated by the physician and collector Rafael O'Shanahan; it is largely due to him that work Oramas’ work is known, along with the work undertaken by the student of his work Josefa Alicia Jiménez Doreste.

In 1929, Oramas begins his apprenticeship in Luján Pérez School where he meets the Indian Gran-Canarian generation including: Felo Monzón, Juan Márquez and his brother Miguel, Santiago Santana, Juan Ismael, Rafael Clarés and sculptors Plácido Fleitas, Eduardo Gregorio and Juan Jaén. Oramas was known as the barber in the neighbourhood of Las Alcaravaneras, taking advantage of the mornings to paint outside the barbershop when there were no customers and at the School in the evenings. In the same year he starts his studies, Oramas participates in the collective exhibition of the School. In 1933 he held his first solo exhibition in the Círculo Mercantil of Las Palmas where he displayed thirty-three of his paintings. Two years later and a few months before his death, the artist exhibited individually his work for the second and final time.

Despite its vital drama, Oramas does not manifest any sadness in his paintings, nor in its limpid landscapes, or their representatives, which includes the human figure as in Aguadoras, Dos Figuras, Retrato de Muchacha and Autorretrato, the composition that opens this exhibition and which brings the visitors closer to the countenance of one who knew how to, so accurately, reflect the beauty of his island environment.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Juan Manuel Bonet
Exhibition Tour: 

Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (June 24 - August 31, 2003), Convento de San Agustín, La Laguna, Tenerife (9 September - 5 October, 2003)

José Jorge Oramas