Colorado native Aurelio Madrid has been prodigiously creating art for nearly three decades. A true autodidact who discovered his talent at age twelve, he has been dedicated to questioning its mysteries ever since. Madrid is a diligent student and fan of art theory and history, whose varied intellectual and artistic enthusiasms ignite through experimentation with art’s contradictory possibilities across multiple genres. Can banal, overlooked subjects be translated through art? Can an “ugly” weed or a mundane action yield fascinating integrity, or perhaps, a revision of standard notions of aesthetic beauty? Might his intricately detailed portraiture raise productive uncertainties about truth, error and accident? The known and the ambiguous; the historical and the contemporary; avant-garde versus traditional; intuitive craftsmanship at play with spontaneous solution--these polarities have taken Madrid years to question and to render into a body of work. He sees that work as not yet whole, but also not without thought, action, and permanence.
Work as it relates to time, craft, and labor is not only the practice that ties creative energy to material output for Madrid, but also is itself an artistic subject. A practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, Madrid is aware of placing the mantra Nam Myho Renge Kyo into an effort of persistence and transformation that informs his work in subtle and overt ways. Repeating the Buddhist idea that life always follows the law of cause and effect, Madrid uses repetition, diligence, and discipline to create. Small actions lead to a whole, changing poison to medicine, challenging doubt, and seeking an enlightened view. Time becomes a tool of investment; thus, a sense of craft permeates most of his 3-D abstract work, reflecting an “outsider’s” obsession with small, repeated actions.
“Labor,” says Madrid, “is what ties the whole together, it’s what holds the disparate ideas in check. Labor orders thought, and it’s where the loose ends are pinned down. A mistake might be the impetus for activating the creative force of mind. It’s amazing when new solutions emerge Phoenix-like and overtake the final result.”
Madrid’s pieces may be created in one day or several months, but his strengths are in his concentration and acute sense of detail and intricacy. Speed and slow moderation are weighed out, set down, and picked up. Madrid seems to ask which pace will work—only time will tell. Through this methodology, the artist has incorporated painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and writing into his practice. Abstraction, portraiture, formalism, and appropriation have become the main branches of his art. He is also known for his domestic murals, furniture, and custom framing.
Lately Madrid has been preoccupied with what he calls “post-photorealism.” The “post” indicates his desire to move away from the photorealist tendencies of the 1960s and 70s, while still using photos as a source, a starting point for an idea, story, or theme. As an art enthusiast Madrid has also used appropriation directly and indirectly, sometimes referring to multiple artists in one piece, deliberately mirroring the contemporary art scene of today.
While he has intentionally been forging his art without patronage or representation until now, Madrid looks forward to bringing some of his work into public view for the first time. In his art, as with life, he believes the work is a journey rather than the final resting point.