Fernando Orellana in ART PRACTICAL
Aliens vs. Venetians
By Dorothy Santos
Bold lines, audacious coloration, and hidden images characterize Fernando Orellana’s latest series, Slideways, currently on view at the Satellite66. From painting to electronics to robotics, Slideways showcases Orellana’s multifaceted art practice in a series of two-dimensional works that combine traditional techniques with digital tools. Orellana rejects the notion that painting is “dead,” instead demonstrating that postmodern works can abide by longstanding traditions, albeit through nontraditional tools. Orellana has found a way to create something wonderfully enticing and fresh at the convergence of old and new technologies.
Orellana’s primary tools, a Wacom tablet and stream-of-consciousness method, allow him to produce prolifically. Orellana’s work, like neo-expressionist paintings, employs a wide array of color and bold, non-tentative line work. Because Orellana makes no preliminary sketches, his pieces emerge from his instinct in the moment and follow no particular order or guidance. The gesture of the work is steeped in the use of blind and modified contour drawing. Unlike the modern style, the work is filled with unmarked surfaces reserved purely for color rather than the textural quality and visible brushstrokes of Neo-Expressionism. InInvisible Canine (2011), the intense and laborious-appearing visual elements of line, shape, and form coalesce into a dense subject matter that not only make the canine visible but also a crucial part of the composition.
Slideways engages a dialogue between the perennial traditionalist and postmodern artist. Orellana’s work presents an unlikely intersection of technology-enabled production and organic notions of the creative process. Slideways reminds viewers that, technological tools and seamless lines notwithstanding, the artist, not the technology, created this body of work.
Dorothy Santos is a freelance art writer based in San Francisco. She holds a BA in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco.