Miradas Del Sur - Southern visions, Bartolomé Roca's paintings

Apr 9.–May 31. Holvi, The Lower Gallery

Spanish painter Bartolomé Roca’s paintings are like colourful Spanish fans, which gradually open up to the eyes of the viewer, one sensation at a time – strong colours, abundant themes, movement and shifting forms. With careful observation, many newfound nuances and details rise to the surface and the complexity of the work is enhanced. At the same time, each and every painting breathes harmony into its own shapes and depths, and unites the exhibition as a whole.

In this exhibition, reality is mixed with fantasy in the familiar way of The One Thousand and One Nights. The Alhambra Palace and the Cordoba Mosque are nonetheless real. In Roca’s paintings these places revert to imagination, fairy tales, wonder and dream worlds; while at the same time alluding to Spanish history, the colourful phases of Spanish art, and the diversity of contemporary Spanish culture. 

The exhibition as a whole, suggests that by simply looking and re-looking the viewer can gain insight. In contrast to the minimalistic northern aesthetic, this exhibition’s compositions, interiors, landscapes, and cityscapes form a whole new experience because of the underlying themes which arise from the suggestive multidimensionality, the richness of the subjects and the game between abstract and figurative painting.


Bartolomé Roca (born in Orihuela, 1948) has received recognition for his art since the 1970’s. Throughout his whole career Roca has made both independent artwork as well as religious art; with the creation of monumental paintings and figurative compositions of the Holy Week. In 2007 a permanent show of his religious work was opened at the Holy Week Museum in Semana Santa (Callosa de Segura, Valencia). With regards to his independent creations, Roca has made both abstract and figurative work in thematic series. The works exhibited at the Jyväskylä Art Museum have been made over the last two and a half years.

The exhibition at the Jyväskylä Art Museum Gallery, along with the publication of Roca's work, are the results of a research and teaching project that evolved from a collaboration between the Art History section of the Department of Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, and the Drawing Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Granada. This research project began with the hypothesis that everyone has the ability to analyze fine arts and the visual environment. Through visual experiences we can learn about ourselves, and our environment. In addition to artists and art researchers, anyone is capable of his/her own interpretations which can contribute to the understanding of art and the visual environment. In cooperation with the Jyväskylä Art Museum, groups of 16-18 year old students and people from the work force are invited to participate in the visual analysis and to contribute to its development. A book about Bartolomé Roca’s art, with interpretations of his artwork, will be published concurrently with the exhibition.

Professor Manuel Vélez Cea (University of Granada) and Professor Annika Waenerberg (University of Jyväskylä) have been responsible for the research projectand selection of the artwork. At the Jyväskylä Art Museum, Seija Heinänen has coordinated the exhibition and curator of education Sirpa Turpeinen has been in charge of pedagogic. Southern Visions – Miradas del Sur is an exhibition, research, and publication project that would not have come into being without the collaboratin of many people and organizations. Through cooperation and financial support this project made possible by Aino Sallinen Rector of the University of Jyväskylä, the Embassy of Spain in Helsinki, the Academy of Finland, the City of Jyväskylä/ International Relations, the Jyväskylä Art Museum, the University of Granada, the Drawing Department at the University of Granada, the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä and the Jyväskylä Artists’ Association.