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J O S E P   M A R I A   A V I L É S 

Aviles 2544 Com pretext Piranesi 'Ciutat
"Landau Contemporary is honoured to present this outstanding group of paintings that combine classical form and a sophisticated palette with a unique romanticism so rarely discerned in today's art world."
 - Robert Landau

Landau Contemporary is proud to present an online exhibition of works by Spanish contemporary artist, Josep Maria Avilés.


With the eye of an architect to visualize complex spaces and the lyricism of a poet to give it formal expression, Avilés creates haunting surfaces using history as a condenser for memory. 

Aviles 2.jpg

To understand the works of Josep Maria Avilés, we must acknowledge his roots. Born in Barcelona in 1942, he began his studies in 1956 at the prestigious Conservatorio de Artes Suntuarias Massana where he later served as Professor of Enameling and Drawing from 1970 to 1994. He completed his master’s degree in Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona in 1974 while still teaching.   

"A collection of sketches from when I was a student at the Massana school until today as a teacher at the school of "LLotja de Barcelona"...I continue to make sketches."

- Josep Maria Avilés, 2011

With fluid control of line, colour and texture, Aviles attempts to create a pictorial field that harmonizes disparate elements, both in structure, technique and inspiration. Using nostalgia as his foundation, Avilés creates a serene atmosphere in his canvases, a surface where both the classical and contemporary merge, where vertical and horizontal elements combine to form a cruciform-like underlying structure,  and where colour, form and material are in constant dialogue with each other.


Avilés large-scale works further betray the influence of the Russian Constructivists, who favoured the industrial assemblage of materials in their works, and the truth and functionality that they represented. Similarly, Avilés's works incorporate found objects which are recovered and methodically sculpted into the canvas - a process that harnesses the poetic potential of detritus,  which the artist viewed as a symbol of perseverance through time and nature's forces. 


Transició al silenci

Mixed media on panel

130 x 162. cm.


REF 2721


Petits lligaments

Mixed media on wood

89 x 116 cm.


REF 697

Through this multi-faceted approach, which seems to oscillate between sculpture and painting, a magnetic interplay between serenity and alienation is palpable in these works, despite their seemingly inorganic nature. 


Furthermore, the illumination of the picture from oblique angles creates a multiplicity of shadows that alter the composition according to the light source and offers the viewer alternate perspectives, ones that transcend the physical realm to reveal the artist's personal poetry, connecting artist and viewer.   

Textures per un poema de Miguel Hernandez

Mixed media on panel

146 x 114 cm.


REF 2736


It is also apparent that Avilés' compositions evoke landscapes, borne out by the horizontal space that separates the high from the low, the light from the heavy, the earth from the sky. He is a true master at manipulating perspective and light, through his controlled use of the materials but also through his limited palette.

"This knowledge of materials lends itself to darker colours (using grey materials), light and dark, and roughness, whilst avoiding artificial and brilliant colours: 'I always end up removing the yellow and reds," emphasizes Avilés."

-David Picó Sentelles

ÀMBIT Galeria

(Photo from the Artist's studio)

Avilés Studio.jpg

The artist often employs black and white with one other colour in his works, usually limited to greys, ochres, blues and reds. Black represents “the absence of clarity”, the earth and the unknowable, as white “conserves the presence of space,” of life, and of air. Such chromatic restrictions help Avilés add vibrancy and emotional resonance to his geometric abstractions.


Abstracció amb blau

Mixed media on panel

68 x 57 cm.


REF 2887


Composició per reflexionar No. 1

Mixed media on panel

49 x 61 cm.


REF 2888

In 2006, Avilés presented himself with a new challenge: a series of paintings with a clear and explicit reference to the 18th-century Italian draughtsman and engraver, Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Piranesi, who later influenced romanticism and surrealism, produced countless engravings based on his romanticized view of real and imaginary buildings of old Rome that were made with a surprising level of technical skill and ability.

"The combination of buildings illustrated in this etching could never actually be built. Among the spatial ambiguities, apparently deliberate, the three curving walls, as of a giant amphitheater or the interior walls of the Pantheon, do not relate logically to each other."

-The Met Collection

Piranesi at the Met - The Piazza del Pop

References to architectural constructions are characteristic of Avilés' work and form part of his elaborate pictorial technique. The homage to Piranesi is identifiable through two methodologies. First, Avilés very accurately reproduced fragments of these works and integrated them into his composition. 

Aviles 2535 Pretext per 'di ampio magnif

Pretext per 'di ampio magnifico porto' 

Mixed media on wood

150 x 150 cm.


REF 2535

Alternatively, Avilés photographed industrial buildings (often in danger of demolition) and deftly and subtly integrated them into the picture plane, like his found objects. This new challenge permitted the artist to mirror the character of his old Catalan roots, that move and change like the material itself. 

Aviles 2544 Com pretext Piranesi 'Ciutat

 Com pretext Piranesi 'Ciutat perduda IV'

Mixed media on wood

56 x 81 cm.


REF 2544

In 2012, Avilés challenged himself further by introducing a new medium to his oeuvre, printmaking, which suited his restrictive chromatic scheme and the oblique shapes of his large paintings and enabled him to recreate his precise vision with apparent creative ease. 

Discover the artist in his studio as he prepares paintings and serigraphs for his show at the esteemed l´Escola LLotja in May 2013.

The artist's gestural and calligraphic designs which are transformed into a synthesis of different materials are here articulated in limited edition serigraphs on Arches paper made by the artist's hand. These works further articulate the artist's use of signs, graphics and symbols which allude to exteriors, abstract figures and barren landscapes. 


La ciutat perduda II

Serigraph on Arches paper

Edition: EA 1/12

77 x 57 cm. (overall)


REF 3052


Oda a l’arquitectura

Serigraph on Arches paper

Edition: EA 2/10

77 x 56 cm. (overall)


REF 3060


La fera

Serigraph on Arches paper

Edition: EA 1/16

77 x 56 cm. (overall)


REF 3046

"It is true that the works of Avilés impose an order of aesthetic dimensions: both symmetric and asymmetric, black and white (with black always present), reliefs, textures, divisions and perspectives, all meticulously presented, thought out and articulated. But as well as the artistic perspective, there is also the cognitive perspective: A specific view, a re-creation of the world, a metaphor, a physical landscape that at once transcends the physical. A personal poetry."


-David Picó Sentelles

ÀMBIT Galeria

Aviles 4.jpg

Artist Biography


Josep Maria Avilés was born in Barcelona. Avilés began his studies in 1964, at the prestigious Conservatorio de Artes Suntuarias Massana, where he later served as Professor of Enameling and Drawing from 1970 to 1994.  In 1969, he began to exhibit his work in many group exhibitions, including the Salón de Mayo, Chile and other major venues in Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam and Vienna.    


Avilés’ mixed media paintings are characterized by an architectonic manipulation of the space rooted in his appreciation and knowledge of the Russian Constructivists. His paintings are grounded in a combination of relief and flat structures, which culminate in a diversity of concave forms.

Avilés’ palette is fundamentally black and white with the addition, usually, of one other colour; black expressing “the absence of clarity” and white “conserving the presence of space.” Because of the raised pictorial surface, the illumination of the work from oblique angles creates a multiplicity of shadows, the composition altering with the direction of the light source.


Within these bas-relief works created from ‘found objects’, Avilés creates an axial tension between the vertical and horizontal thrust of the composition referencing the landscape with horizontal space connoting the earth below and the sky above with the introduction of oblique elements to animate the stillness.


Select Exhibitions

2019 Antiguo Mercado Requena, Valencia.

2019 Centre Cultural Terrassa, Barcelona

2017 Gelida Exposición, Centre Cultural de Terrassa, Barcelona

2017 Fundació Tharrats, Calella de Palafrugell

2015 Museu De Arte Contemporaneo Florencio De La Fuente, Requena

2015 Landau Contemporary, Montreal 

2013 “Llotja” Espai La Nau U, Barcelona

2010 Fundación Hervás Amezcua, Barcelona

2010 "Temps Fugit" Associació Art De Catalunya, La Nau, Tossa de Mar, Palau Moja, Barcelona

2008 La Capella de l’ Antic Hospital Sant Sadurní D’anoia, Barcelona

2007 Landau Contemporary at Galerie Dominion, Montreal

2006 Àmbit Galeria D’Art, Barcelona

2004 Torre Muntadas, Sala d’Art Josep Bages, Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona

2004 Colección Testimonio

2003-2004, Ayuntamiento de Pamplona, La Caixa

2003 Galeria Àgora, Sitges

2003 Fundación Enciclopedia Catalana in colaboration with l’Omnium Cultural, Barcelona

2001 Obra Graphica, Solvenia

1998 Galerie am Opernring, Vienna

1997 Manifesto Galería, Barcelona

1997 Museo “Torre Vella de Salou”, Tarragona

1996 Biblioteca Cívica, Cigliano

1995 “Kunstrai”, Amsterdam

1995 Manifesto Galería, Barcelona

1995 Fiers d’Arte Moderna e Contemporánea, “Artissimo”, Turin

1995 “Llotja” homage to Picasso, Horta de San Juan

1995 Collective in Walter Bischoff Galerie, Hölderlinstr, Stuttgart

1994 Fiera d’Arte Moderna e Contemporánea “Artissima”, Turin

1994 LA SALA, Sala de Exposiciones GELIDA, Barcelona

1993 Galería Canals, Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona

1993 EUROPA A MIRÓ, Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona

1993 “X de X” a Joan Miró, Galería Canals, Barcelona

1991 Pintores d’avui a Can MULÀ, Mollet del Valles

1990 Antiguo Ayuntamiento, Tarragona

1990 Exposición VIARÓ 25, Hotel Princesa Sofía, Barcelona

1990 Museo d’art Contemporàni, Bugar, Gerona

1988 Caja de Madrid Obra Cultural, Barcelona

1987 Casal de Cultura de Gelida, Barcelona

1986 Circulo Artístico de Sant Luc, Barcelona

1981 Sheffield Gallery, Chicago


We thank you for visiting our online exhibition. Please contact the gallery to find out more about this exceptional artist. 

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