I have been told that, since I learned to express myself verbally, I have shown a powerful, fervent and unshakeable desire to paint. Perhaps I will never really know why.
I remember my earliest memories, dreaming about having the knowledge and tools necessary to allow me the daily exercise of this most difficult but simultaneously beautiful profession.
Ever embellished given the manifest genius and sensitivity of the human being, always feeling fortunate to have the joy of contemplating, aspiring and embedding myself in the works of others, even feeling myself small and insignificant.
I do not paint because I think that I have something to contribute or to state; I do it simply because it is something I need to do, like breathing.
With all the solitude, failures and sacrifices which it brings, I could not, nor would I want to, stop doing what I do.
I am within it; painting is my air.
My path, the pursuit of a dream: to express what I see with the heart versus the floundering of mere hands which infinitely impoverish the vision.
Maria José Aguilar
Sevilla, February 2005
Maria José Aguilar was born in the city of Sevilla in 1964, in the centre’s San Lorenzo district. She spent her childhood and early adolescence among her native city, the bay of Cadiz and the Jaén mountains. From early on she showed artistic leanings and gifts fed by appropriate surroundings. She grew up with a passion for the great Spanish masters, especially Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán and Valdés Leal, etc.
- She began her university studies in Sevilla’s School of Fine Arts.
- In November she travelled to Italy, where a dream came true for the first time; that of observing up close the work of great Italian masters.
- She decided to commence parallel studies in Sevilla’s Arts and Crafts School, with an eagerness to expand her knowledge in other areas of art.
- She earned her degree in Painting from Universidad Hispalense of Sevilla.
- Later she would spend four months travelling in Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Morocco, returning with a determination to continue her tertiary studies. In December she travelled to Vancouver (Canada) for the first time.
- In the spring she visited Holland, specifically the city of Amsterdam, a point of continuous return for her in subsequent years. She felt an undeniable admiration for the meticulousness of the Flemish masters which, together with painting and Sevillian-Barroque sculpture, would set the foundations for her later production. Two artists would leave a lasting impression on her during this first trip: Rembrandt and van Gogh.
- In July she passed her oral exams to earn the title of Adjunct Professor for Bachelor’s in Drawing.
- That summer, once again in Canada (from Vancouver), she began an extended trip through the Province British Columbia and Alberta, where in addition to admiring the matchless beauty of its panoramas, she had the opportunity to contact small population enclaves belonging to native tribes bearing a significant artistic production, full of content and artisanal tradition.
In turn she saw that the wealth of that country had made possible major advances in new technologies, well above those of other countries and which, applied to the scope of art, was imposing a revolution not only in form, but also in artistic concepts. The Canadian artistic vanguard would flow through courses quite different from anything else seen before.
- Her teaching performance, the logical efforts of any doctoral candidate to specify the idea for research in her case focused on the development of artistic creativity, and prevented her from dedicating herself more fully to what she really wanted to do: paint. Her concerns to dominate the part of her held ex officio by painting is primordial. Conscious that only an iron discipline would allow her to attain and achieve this first goal will reaffirm her positioning in realism, making the figure the core subject of her work.
- A household accident destroyed practically all of her works, the fruit of her first steps along her artistic journey. This year, as well as both succeeding years spent among her native Sevilla (putting the finishing details on commemoration of the Fifth Centennial of the Discovery of America), Holland, France and Canada.
- EXPO ´92 - the International Fair in Sevilla is inaugurated. The city is one continuous swarm of cultural exchanges which make her dream of new projects which are not far from her.
- A series of crucial events occurred in her personal life which will result in a major change in the ordering of her priorities and projects, forcing her to forget some irretrievably and to delay others.