As a bona fide holistic creator, Jose Luis Pena defines his artistic expression in a simple, blunt way, something I sincerely respect –and quite possible secretly envy- due to the fact that curators and critics, I must confess, rarely possess that ability, let me be the first to take the blame.
Yet, although I thoroughly respect his views and concepts, there is one point in which we tend to differ: Jose Luis understands the terms Essential Perception as the most direct and natural view of our surroundings, in which persons and other elements are captured –by the camera or the naked eye- in a completely uninhibited, I may go as far as to call it rather neutral way.
In relation to his artistic project, I must confess that I tend to drift towards the literary, even the philosophical and alchemic meaning of the adjective / noun, in which the term essential becomes indivisibly linked to the energetic content of beings and objects, perhaps the most mysterious, though absolutely common, element in the universe.
My perception is that the photographic work of Jose Luis Pena does not, per se, try to avoid the figurative concept in order to embark itself in the search for complacent, obvious and even banal originality: his art is sufficiently wide, ambitious, exhaustive, coherent and structured to yield an answer –simple to his mind, complex to mine- that would not be characterised by its firm strata. Interestingly enough the same train of thought may be applied to his creation in music, graphic arts and photography.
I am particularly attracted to the fact that José Luis dares to row against the current within the two artistic specialties he cultivates with so much zeal. His electro-acoustic music is capable of turning a chronological manifestation into a contemplative state, at times even an unmovable one: he can create the perfect mantra, maybe even universal mantra.
On the other hand, his photography aims for the kinetic essence of energy, light, even shadow. Both manifestations show that the tools of the artist only become extensions of his body when they rebel against the paternalistic rhetoric found in manuals, specialised literature, “professional” training, the establishment and tradition, thus being impelled to only obey the sagacious suggestions that emanate from that elusive, unquestionable and alchemic energetic essence that lives within the true creator.