Review

Juliana Bernal’s work proposes a series of visual and spatial relationships based on the vital experience of motherhood. Through the exercise of folding and paper screening in modulations, volumes and geometric games, the artist translates the affective language of care, waiting and the union between mother and child. The derived forms evoke in the viewer the experience of bonding and recollection, and awaken a kinesthetic effect that suggests cyclical or spiral movements. The concept of the cycle, precisely, runs through the artist’s work as a symbol of the course of life and its incessant gravitation on individuals. Bernal’s compositions are defined in rhythm, sequences and chromatic gradations. This visual language is the result of the transposition of her emotional evolution and the conscious exploration of her enunciative place as mother.

This is how Bernal’s artistic practice is a consequence of the search he carries out from his gestation experience, and in which he is subjected to different sensitive transformations and to a perception of his own subject as an organism linked to another being, in a shared environment. In this way, a fundamental presence in his work is the symbolic evocation of the nest and its condition of protection and demarcation of the intimate space; a language that in turn was poured into the formative and therapeutic process itself with his son. The Nests series synthesizes the artist’s journey through the awareness and understanding of motherhood as the creation of life, not only in a biological sense, but as a social and cultural process. The figure of the mother underlies the heart of the work as the primary essence and support of human growth. Nests as visual color structures suggest notions of safety, shelter, and comfort.

Color is also a primary vector in Bernal’s work, since the way it is arranged and combined in each piece responds to a psychological purpose that immerses the viewer in the moods that have inspired the work. The artist has judiciously defined a palette whose properties provoke an enveloping experience. Thus, his work is crossed by primary tones that allude to the origin and strength of life: yellows and golds that suggest light, value and beauty; blue, representing harmony and fidelity; and reds, which invoke vitality and joy. These nuances are complemented by earthy tones that speak of the roots, the cozy and the natural; and white, symbolizing the spiritual, the beginning and the renewal.

Juliana Bernal’s work asks about motherhood as the inseparable and dominant link between mother and child from the moment of conception, and highlights in her plastic exploration each of the experiential stages that define that process. The visual form, from the color, the material and the composition, merges with the conceptual root of the work, insofar as that folded and hatched paper – at the same time docile and firm through gesture – invokes the experience of dedication and rooting. Ultimately, the narrative thread of motherhood challenges us as subjects in search of our own connection with our origins and our most primary spaces; with our own affective tissues stimulated by the reflection of those plots, those rhythms and those paper paths.