Cuadro (Picture)

Manuel Millares

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 1926 - Madrid, Spain, 1972
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Mixed media and oil on hessian
  • Dimensions: 
    98 x 130 cm
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Manuel Millares took part in various episodes occurring during the renovation of the Spanish art scene in the second half of the 20th century: in the Canary Islands he helped create the group LADAC (Los Arqueros del Arte Contemporáneo) and later, in Madrid, he joined the group El Paso (1957-1960). In 1955 he abandoned the series known as Pictografías, compositions with themes related to aspects of indigenous Canary Island culture, and gradually introduced new materials into his work: cardboard, wood, fragments of ceramics, earth and sackcloth. His interest in textures, materials and graphism had been evident since the start of his artistic activity and it was a determining factor in the development of a symbolic language that would identify him later on. Around 1957 his work began to feature the use of sackcloth, the constructive power of which joined forces with the expressive power of le tache (the stain) and the gesture-structure obtained from the relief of the fabric. Millares repeatedly used torn fabric painted in reds, blacks and whites, with drips, cross marks and human-like figures, that create a dramatic three-dimensional image and also lead to a reflection on opposing elements: construction and destruction, sewn and torn. Millares described his painting as the act of “attacking infinite spaces and torturing them with a dynamic tangle of string”. His work represents a response both to pictorial tradition and to modernity, with its rejection of canvas, its voiding of any illusion of three-dimensionality and its insistence on the physical presence of the work in space.