Bosco Sodi: Croatia

Bosco Sodi (Mexico, 1970) is known for his richly textured, monochromatic large-scale paintings that explore materiality, color, and the raw beauty of nature. Compelled by the unpredictable, the accidental, and the unique simplicity found in the natural landscape, Sodi’s work is an adventure into the unknown. The artist travels constantly between his four studios—Barcelona, Berlin, Brooklyn, and Mexico—each of which provide a specific mixture of climate and materials that creates in his work a unique relationship with place and time. Sodi does not plan before beginning a new piece; instead, he allows himself to be led spontaneously by mood and emotion. He uses his hands to layer pigments, natural fibers, sawdust, and wood fragments directly onto the canvas over a period of one to two days. Over time, the surface cracks and solidifies like cooling lava, creating a seductive field of color and texture that reflects the unbounded energy with which it was created.

Although the series is titled Croatia—the artist was visiting this country when he conceived the idea for the series—Sodi produced these six large-format paintings simultaneously in his New York studio. The artist visualizes the artworks as “blood brothers with distinct personalities;” created at the same time and with the same materials, but each completely different due to the unpredictability of his process. Sodi’s work lies between the vanguards of abstraction of the early 20th century, echoing Antoni Tàpies’ matter paintings and Mark Rothko’s color fields and manifests the contemporary dilemma of what painting is and will become.

The pools and cracks of pigmented matter resemble scorched earth, perhaps recalling the chaos of primordial creation or an alien landscape. The tension between the radiance of the color and the porosity caused by the dehydration of the materials creates a magnetic intensity that incites the eye and may awaken sensations and emotions of peace, anger, or joy. With Croatia, Sodi invites us to contemplate and observe our reactions as the esthetic experience unfolds: “I wanted to create a very intense body of work…that would stimulate the viewer, so they feel their stomachs drop, that they feel them and are forced to see…and interpret them.”