insights on art, culture, lifestyle, spirituality, travel, music, society and much much more from a jet-setter currently on "furlough"…

Lyrical Collagist Rocks DC (and your inner soul?)

Pictured in this Entry: (1) Duplex and Concentric Green, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25 in and (2) Duplex I, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25 in

Let’s take a closer look at Chilean-born, Washington DC based, lyrical mylar collage mastermind Joan Belmar. Pronounced “Joe-on”, Belmar might be unfamiliar to some NKG visitors as he does not yet have a page on our official website, but his work is certainly not to be overlooked! He started out with paintings, but in recent years have moved towards the world of abstract collages. Though one might observe that there are echoes of OP Art and minimalist qualities in his general body of work, Belmar’s mixed media collages are certainly one-of-a-kind. They are a reflection of the inner workings of his spirit, and does not immitate the work of anyone else: he is his own, unique person.

Pristine strips of solid-colored mylar are delicately placed under the glass of a plywood frame, constructed into circles of all shape and sizes; some slightly more representational than others. There are usually no more than 4 colors/hues represented simultaneously. Some of these compositions can easily be compared to a 3-dimensional approach to the biological system of the human body, found in the science textbooks of today. Due to his use of modern materials, such as plastic, acetate, mylar and glass, an optical illusion is easily created. Viewing these works allows one’s sense of curiosity to leap out, to question the purpose of his art and to be able to reach in and physically feel the materials in order to fully grasp the concept of each collage. Undeniably, there is also a deep sense of nostalgia connected to Belmar’s collages that purge the viewers to take a deeper look at their own respective lives in light of his art. The somewhat uncomfortable, tingly sensation never dies, and an air of mystery prevails.

Strongly influenced by Anish Kapoor’s scuplture at the Hirshhorn, which depicts a bisected egg painted blue, Belmar’s work exists in order for us to test our eyes and abilities to perceive the things that take place around us. His constant exploration with circles (specifically with the mandala principle) helps us realize the importance to constantly access deeper into the levels consciousness, that life is not perfect and that we as humans are all in this together. This is why Belmar creates worlds in his art where some things are clear, others translucent and the latter opaque: it makes the journey of life more interesting to discover.

Prior to moving to the United States in 1999, Belmar lived and experienced “multiple lives” in both Spain and his native Chile. His response to the events of his life are blatantly reflected in his artwork, which he describes with adjectives such as “alienation” and “disconnectedness”. Through the daring use of his concentric collages, Belmar excels in his goal to not only examine critical social structures, but also to [psychologically] analyze those who struggle within them; including, himself. It is like reading the artists’ autobiography in his artwork, making himself completely vulnerable to the masses and allowing us to respond in light of our own life experiences. Isn’t this is what the circle of life is about, after all?


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