Spanish Artist Mai Blanco’s Lush Canvases Debut at Ibiza’s Fundación La Nave Salinas

Founded by dealer and collector Lio Malca, La Nave Salinas features the Spanish artist's largest body of work to date.

Installation view of "Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within)" (2024). Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

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What You Need to Know: On view through October 31, 2024 in Ibiza, Spain, Fundación La Nave Salinas is presenting the solo exhibition “Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within).” Founder, collector, and dealer Lio Malca said, “This year we would like to invite you to Mai’s garden to immerse in a symphony of light and color, where each painting illuminates from within.” Fundación La Nave Salinas is a not-for-profit foundation that aims to bring contemporary art to the greater public and give back to the local island’s community. Situated within a former salt warehouse, and spanning more than 7,500 square feet, the foundation presents diverse curatorial projects and expansive installations on a yearly basis. Speaking of the presentation of Blanco’s work, foundation Director Isaac Malca said, “Collaborating with Mai on Jardín Adentro has been an exceptional experience. From the project’s inception, our guiding principle has been one of boundless ambition, continually striving to transcend limitations in the pursuit of excellence. Mai’s unwavering dedication and her incisive approach to conceptualization have been instrumental in bringing this remarkable show to fruition.”

Exterior view of Fundación La Nave Salina in Ibiza, with a view of the Mediterranean dotted with dozens of sailboats in the background, and several cloth triangle awnings stretching out from a stone building that houses the exhibition space.

Fundación La Nave Salina, Ibiza, Spain. Photo: Marc Ambros.

About the Artist: Originally from the province of Asturias in Northern Spain, Mai Blanco (b. 1982) initially studied graphic illustration at the School of Arts and Crafts, Oviedo, and ultimately graduated from the Barcelona Fine Arts University in 2009. Blanco frequently employs self-portraiture and motifs centered on nature, engaging with themes around existence, simplicity, and genuineness. A student of art history, Blanco draws inspiration from a broad range of influential artists from across time and place, from Botticelli and Rubens to Pierre Bonnard, Alice Neel, and Cecily Brown, to name just a few. For her current exhibition at Fundación La Nave Salinas, Blanco said “The works are self-portraits that seek to reflect the search for meaning, often through a connection with the natural world, as an inexhaustible source of primal beauty that makes us connect with the transcendent in a radical way (that is, from the root).

From this connection arises the jubilant joy of being alive, from the simple and natural. Without any other pretensions, just the fact of being and existing in this world is already a sufficiently transcendent fact.”

Half portrait of artist Mai Blanco wearing a black spaghetti strap tank top standing inside her exhibition at Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Artist Mai Blanco. Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Why We Like It:

Blanco’s paintings project a truly timeless air, bringing together elements found in historical movements like Impressionism and 19th-century Modernism and contemporary approaches to figuration and palette. Each work draws the viewer into the artist’s unique, vivid world, which overflows with detail—both compositionally as well as physically with the inclusion of texture and brushstroke from their creation. Her execution of figures speaks to her referencing her own visage, but also remains abstract enough that it alludes to a collective existence, one separate from, or perhaps adjacent to, lived reality. The otherworldly vignettes that can be seen throughout the exhibition evoke ancient myths as well as canonical art historical motifs, but Blanco has made each decidedly her own and thus her work is simultaneously personal yet widely relatable.

See inside the exhibition below.

Fundación La Nave Salinas installation view of large-scale figurative abstract paintings illuminated and reflecting on the black glossy ground.

Installation view of “Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within)” (2024). Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Fundación La Nave Salinas installation view of large-scale figurative abstract paintings illuminated and reflecting on the black glossy ground.

Installation view of “Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within)” (2024). Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Installation view of “Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within)” (2024). Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Installation view of “Mai Blanco: Jardín Adentro (A Garden Within)” (2024). Photo: Marc Ambros. Courtesy of Fundación La Nave Salinas.

Mai Blanco: Fundación La Nave Salinas” is on view at Fundación La Nave Salinas through October 31, 2024.


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