She worked in the place she was living. She did the first painting upstairs and the second downstairs. But she felt very uncomfortable. She couldn't understand what she was doing painting, when "people outside were dying". She thought hard about this for several days, the early ones of that lockdown last spring which for her seemed a type of "living death". And in the end she found painting to be a reason to carry on. A motive, if not for optimism, then for resistance.
The result of that work can now be seen at the Yusto/Giner gallery in Marbella, in an exhibition of a dozen works created by Ana Barriga during the coronavirus lockdown. "They do look rather entertaining at first, because of the colour and iconography, but there is always something dramatic going on in the background," says the artist.
Vitalistic and playful on the surface but with a depth of sarcasm running through them, the dozen works in 'La vida del difunto' (The life of the deceased), Barriga's second exhibition at the Yusto/Giner, have been created by an artist who comes onto the market as "a huntress with no preconceived ideas" and it can be viewed until 21 November.
Objects that attract her are taken to her studio and there, little by little, she incorporates them into her creations in the form of festive collages which are at the same time disturbing. It is a combination of "fake scenographies" where Barriga takes everyday items and transforms them. There are children's toys, beads and domestic gadgets disguised on her powerful canvases, which take the form of still lifes of pop reminiscences.
"For me, painting is magic. It is a gift that I have in life which I enjoy so much and I try to portray all that," says the artist, whose works feature in collections at institutions such as the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), the Colección DKV, the CAC Málaga and the Fundación Canaria para el Desarrollo de la Pintura.
Barriga has returned to the Yusto/Giner after her exhibition 'Ni trono ni reina' there in 2017, and sources at the gallery describe how she tries to find a balance between reason and emotion through a very personal aesthetic: "Two apparently contradictory territories which, with the friction they create, generate a type of energy which draws you in. She tries to move within the ambit of playfulness and the game, elements which are very important in her work and also in the way in which she works," they say.
Ana Barriga's works are a promise to us that there is light (and colour) at the end of this tunnel.