Of the mud and the enjoyments

Visit "Fingers in the mud", ceramic exhibition of Martha Jimenez (Holguin, 1948) opened in the gallery Raul Martinez of the Palace of the Second Cape from February fifteenth to the fifteenth of March, is to attend a meeting with hedonism of good law: twenty-two pieces of terracotta that enter us in the universe of the Cuban Negro through the fruitive savor of scenes, customs, instruments, ways, attitudes, furniture, to dig in the national "ajiaco", not with picturesque glimpses, but rather with the warm look of assumption.

The black women of Martha (as the exhibition gravitates, basically, about the female sex: the male appears only as an erotic complement, as a link of pleasure, for whose approval one works or suffers), with an exuberance worthy of Rubens and of the Cuban popular taste (back, breasts bulges, wide hips, tuned waistlines), oscillate from gossip to santeria, from flirting to coffee drink, from stew to jealousy, from preaching to grooming, and lead us to that environment of the solar, typical of a certain area of ??the poetry of Nicolas Guillen where we appreciate the "Cuban color" in all its magnitude: revelry and resignation, jokes and pathetism, lasciviousness and prudery, bustle and whisper, boastfulness and shyness , and another series of antinomic pairs characteristic of Cubanism.

It is remarkable in this collection the author's interest in capturing the psychological features of her characters: the folds of the human soul in "Twins", the animosity against the absent victim professed by the "Gossipers", the masochism that has always involved -from the corset and the crinoline to the cold wave and the multiple earrings- the feminine aftertaste for the "Torture of beauty", or the fine game lustful, half mischievous and half innocent of the "Lovers."  It is also, the insistence on sitting her creatures on stools, with which she manages to affirm the Creolism and to give the compositions of a subjective breath to intimate talk, to a domestic space conducive to reflection, rest and, ultimately, customary rumination of life.

The workmanship, on the other hand, is excellent. Naturally colored by the use of raccoon and slip, Martha figures transcend the mercantile decorative framework of much of the pottery to use and approach -by its conceptual and formal weight- to a sort of sculpture in small format, reinforced so much by the baroque management of signs and symbols (reptiles, birds, utensils, nails, thongs, garments) as for the perfection of miniaturist with which she faces the solution of the physical, psychological and ornamental details of the pieces.

Hedonism, I repeat, that offers us the enjoyment after crossing the deep rivers of technique and idea, to leave seated (on stools, of course) that this woman not only puts her fingers in the mud, but also the precise force and faith with which authentic delusions are modeled.


Author: Jesus David Curbelo.

Los dedos en el barro, Palacio del Segundo Cabo, del 15 de febrero al 15 de marzo, 1997. Exposición de cerámicas de Martha Jiménez.