The Intricacies of Interplay



1. These paintings ostensibly involve two materials:
That which most would term paper. And another which resembles
anything but paper.
Both these materials methodically wend their way through this
They run both the length and width of its surface.
This is the first of many dyanmics of pictorial interplay and bespeaks
the whimsical abandon of these paintings.

2. The second dynamic is steeped in the interplay of the first: the
judicious and precise choice of materials. Their extended
knowledge, as well as the purification, economy and suitability of
materials vis-à-vis the paradoxes inherent to their deployment.

3. The third interplay is the result of the previous two: the lightness of
these works. They lack a sense of having been laboured over and, as
such, lack clear signs of workmanship.
They dance before the eye or perhaps the eye skips along them.
We will return to this dynamic later, in order to consider it from the
perspective of the fourth dynamic of interplay.

4. There is an interplay between triangles, which seem to devour one
another. They vanish, leaving in their place diagonal, horizontal and
vertical lines, as well as symmetrical knots, elusive geometric
hieroglyphics, blind streets, deserts, puzzles and ornaments. The eye
skips and stumbles. It loses its way and falls. As it regains its footing
it feels as it is continuing down its path, when in all actuality it is
now walking backwards; and lost. It becomes entwined. It then
unravels itself and is surprised to note that none of this has really
None of this has happened?

5. The fifth dynamic reveals itself much later.
Much later, all roads.
Much later, it reveals that all paths are reversible:
the eye then discovers that the surface is cleverly constructed of
mutant triangulations; triangulation colonies, as it were.
Backgrounds leap to the foreground, as readily as foregrounds
dissolve into backgrounds.
Figures in the foreground inhabit the background. Backgrounds are
anything but.
And everything figures in.

6. And now the double entendre. In Spanish the verb encajar refers to
the physical act of fitting an object into an area, as well as the more
figurative notion of “fitting in”.

7. The eighth dynamic involves the Real Academia Española’s
definition of a grid, which is defined as “the set of squares resulting
from bisecting two series of straight lines”.

8. And the grid is the field on which these paintings are played out.
The interplay in these pieces involves a game of hide-and-seek.
The unending multiplicity of triangles, and in all their
manifestations, is completely linked to the grid. Freely, cleverly and
artfully intertwined.
And this, then, is the ninth dynamic.

9. Is this a painting woven into the grid of a loom?
Or is is a shattered kaleidoscope which, once refitted, shifts into nine
new manifestations of the original.
10. The paintings of Amalia Valdés tread lightly along the edge of the
abyss: a self-imposed grid.
Amalia hides her workmanship from our eyes. These works owe
their maturity and weightless grace to this sleight of hand.

11. And what these paintings have to say, through the use of said
materials and dynamics, is that they were created to be viewed by:


Eugenio Dittborn


June 2013