The works that make up the exhibition Letters that are not feature a succinct overview of Beatriz de la Rúa’s vast and productive career. By going through them, we can delve into this artist’s unique visual universe, characterized by compositions which are halfway through figuration and abstraction, where the expressivity, space, stroke and stain reveal themselves as unquestioned protagonists.

In most of her works, de la Rúa approaches the plastic materials without any forethought or previous sketches. In line with the tradition of the psychic automatism performed by the surrealists, she projects lines and stains on a translucent surface, trusting that the meaningful shapes will be eventually uncovered so as to convey the sought-for emotion. Thus, the pieces spring up within an intimate dialog with chance, accidents, the unknown, and the unforeseen forces. Out of this task, which the artist performs masterfully, there arise images that are endings at times (for instance, in the series Naturaleza dialogando [In nature while talking], 2021), and that in other cases are the starting point for the building-up of a visual proposal guided by a clear representative call (as is the case of Los caminantes [The walkers], 1997 or Bosque transformado [Altered forest], 2008).

The ink is the most recurrent material, yet not the only one, nor does it always appear in the same way. In some works it is accurately applied, thus giving shape to the figures of a drawing (Todos miran algo nuevo [Everyone looks at something new], 2003) or to the lines in a set of graphic patterns (Serie ADN [DNA series], 2011). In others, it appears on the paper as a stroke, either through the elegance of its fortuitous renderings, or by struggling over the definition of the pictorial space (serie Dinamismo espiritual [Spiritual dynamism series], 2015). In others, the diluted ink is soaked onto the support and thus creates chromatic fields, liquid extensions, glazing or atmospheres of an imposing perceptive prominence (serie Lugares escondidos [Hidden places series], 2006). And in some others, it blends with textured materials while breaking into a three-dimensional state which is, at the same time, both physical and visual (serie Camino a la caverna [Way to the cave series], 2006).

The space on which all these fluent variations unfold is often the clear geography of the sheet of paper. However, the link between plastic material and support, figure and ground, is not repeated, or at least its connotations are not always the same. In some works, the white surface supplied by the paper can be read straightforwardly as a plane or as a background -or, in a more traditional way, as a “neutral field”. Yet in others, that void reaches a spiritual or metaphysical scale. In fact, this emotional component is more and more present in Beatriz de la Rúa’s work, ever growing in the recent global pandemic, during which time the word “spiritual” appeared more and more often in the titles.

Finally, in the productions that were selected for this exhibition, what prevails is the tonal reduction to whites, blacks and shades of grey, even though de la Rúa also explores other uses of colour (Espíritu libre [Free spirit], 2020, majestically accounts for that). Such a decision -not whimsical at all, since the monochrome gradient takes up a great part of this artist’s work- invites us to contemplate them calmly, beyond the emotional fits that colour brings about. Seen this way, it is not hard to perceive in them the testimony of the quest for a style or a formal vocabulary. A vocabulary that shuns words, fully trusting in its visual might, outspoken, sensitive and spiritual.