Araripe's World of Color
As a matter of fact I am not an arts critics and I am doing this for the sake of my friendship with Oscar Araripe. I am daring to write these lines in spite of the fact that I am running the risk to make a mistake. However, I will always have the excuse of blaming him for having me asked such a thing. First, because I do not master this matter and second because actually I work with something different, which is TV.
I have a nice memory of a book I read a long time ago, from a Spanish writer, Eugenio D'Ors, "Una hora en el Museo del Prado (One hour at Prado Museum). This guide followed me as an indicator through one of the most important World Museums and introduced me to a great deal of things I did not know about painting and painters. Not only has this guide taught me how to look but also and above all, to see the essential in a work of art, not only with the eyes, but specially with the heart. Antoine de Saint Exupéry explains this attitude very well in his "Le Petit Prince, when he says that the essential is invisible to the eyes, above all, to profane eyes like mine, eyes of people who can only "feel the painting because we lack the necessary information to understand it.
And it is from this optics that I see Oscar Araripe's paintings. Whenever I look at them, I feel many things: its landscapes full of flowers, light, water, sky, evoke the Paradise of Earth before the creation of man. There are neither man nor woman in his pictures, man has still not been created, everything is clean, of an immaculate pulchritude, almost obscene. The only living beings are these marvelous butterflies that, as it happens in the Mystery of "Immaculada Concepcion (Holy Mary) cross the Paradise as a sun beam passes through a crystal, without breaking or staining it. The butterflies are part of the landscape, they are there, but they can freely leave, as the clouds of Magritte. To me, the butterflies symbolize the most pure innocence. However, the landscape is never innocent, it is always awaiting for man to come and it may change and in fact it will change. The butterflies, as the angels, are spirits that cannot contaminate themselves, because if they do they would die.
In all the paintings of Oscar Araripe I see multicolored butterflies, even when there is no butterfly; their absence make them ubiquitous, one can hear their wings flying, can see their colors, can feel their spell.
Enchantment is what I feel for Oscar Araripe's paintings, the enchantment of a wise man who detains himself in what is essential, because the essential is not invisible to his eyes. Oscar Araripe looks and sees and paints what is in front of him as children do, with this intelligence and this thoroughness that only children and a very few adults have. Oscar is one of these children, who does not ask himself, as Pablo Neruda, "where is the child I used to be?, this child always follows Oscar, he has never lost this child, and this can be seen in his pictures. Oscar plays with colors, steals them from nature, and sticks them with glue in his pictures, so that they cannot leave them. In his canvas there are fragments stolen from his state of birth, Ceará, as well from Tiradentes, Porto Seguro, and from all places where he has passed by. Oscar has been taken with him fragments of landscapes, beaches, trees, flowers, houses and in turn now there is emptiness, because this great thief, who is Oscar Araripe, had put them in his pictures, not taking into account the protests of the people. We are also accomplices of this misdemeanor. Nevertheless we steal them from Oscar, we catch the whole content of his canvas with the eyes, actually while contemplating them we are stealing them from Oscar, because certainly it would be crime if we would permit Oscar to stay with them alone, not sharing them with anybody else.
Oscar Araripe is a thief of white gloves. Accordingly it is really a mystery that he has so many colors in his pallet. The blue of the sea and the blue of the sky, the red and green and the yellow and orange of his flowers, and the rainbow of his butterflies, all of this unquestionable denies the lapidary phrase of Ives Klein "man has been apart of his coulored soul "
Looking at Oscar Araripes's paintings we come about the Paradise, that Paradise in which, whatever people say, we have never been in it. The Paradise is inside a butterfly that softly slips through the immensity of a blue sky, however, as everything, which is essential, it is invisible to our eyes.