Water, as a versatile symbol for emotions, conditions, dynamics, or forces, has been commonly utilized by artists due to its relentless and overwhelming nature and appealing and unthreatening appearance (recently we’ve featured Louise Bonnet’s Bathers exhibition in Paris). And Daniel Correa Mejía’s solo exhibition Amor y Agua (Love and Water), which is currently on view at Public gallery in London, takes a complete focus on considering the correspondence between life’s most essential substance and arguably most important feeling.

Exceptionally consistent in its color scheme the body of work comprising this consonant presentation is dominated by the presence of water in some form, and an occasional, stylized, archetypal male figure. Depicted in a moment of calmness, with eyes closed and often in a passion-driven interaction, the subjects become vehicles through which their surroundings earn new, poetic qualities. Whether portrayed while kissing (Hora mágica (Golden hour), 2021), suggesting physical contact (Agua calma (Calmed water), 2021), or imagining the presence of the significant other (Lágrimas de lluvia (Tears of rain), 2021), they are the main protagonists of the story which continues far beyond their bodies and into the sensibly depicted natural scenery. Reminiscent of the ancient Greek figures and therefore timeless, it’s only their body hair or their physical appearance that merely suggests their gender. But besides that, they’re purposely stripped of any suggestive attributes, enabling their surroundings to become an embellishment that underlines the overall tender ambiance.

Rendered with frail, repetitive, and non-intrusive brush strokes, the figures are physically and emotively becoming one with the scenery, completely disconnected from the rest of the human world that might exist. The constant interchange between the marks of red, yellow, blue, and violet, constructs a composite setting in which all the elements are attributed with natural integrants such as the sunlight, blood, or the skies. Evoking the strong sense of Earthly unity, the nonliving segments become extensions of the subject’s feelings or actions creating an almost mythical atmosphere around otherwise simple compositions. From bursting, over dripping, to standing still, the water itself becomes a field on which a range of emotions and atmospheres can be conveyed. And its versatility can vary not only according to its physical quality or dynamics but within the same state. From embracing the kissing couple in Hora mágica (Golden hour), 2021, to looking under its surface for crucial answers in Buscando mis ratros (Searching for my traces) or Un suspiro (One sigh), 2021, it’s still water that earns a completely new meaning through the artist’s poetic imagination. Just like different letters form different words, and different words have a different meaning when put alongside others, Mejía’s brushwork becomes the ambiguous alphabet for his profound visual poetry. —Sasha Bogojev