Ricardo Gil: beauty as a personal pursuit
The manner in which Ricardo Gil earns his living is linked to artistic expression for a very simple reason: the pursuit of beauty has been permanent in the respect for nature and the study of the landscape. Aqua-Riego, the company to which he has dedicated almost twenty years of work is specialized in the development of irrigation systems that, even if designed on the basis of complex engineered structures and specialized computer programs such as AutoCAD, perform their role only when they incorporate a landscaping vision. The representation of nature through traditional artistic means, such as painting and photography has always sought to acknowledge, label and identify the inherent beauty of a landscape. It is recreated by being labeled, because only by giving it other name artists get involved with its strength, which always turns in the indispensable reference of their work. Challenging these traditional methods motivated several experiments since the 60’s; nevertheless, even though they questioned the effectiveness of painting and other means to assess and identify the esthetic dimension of the landscape, they still literally embraced the acknowledgement of the earth as a principal factor of the conscience drama in their desperate need of understanding and grasping their habitat. Ricardo Gil goes beyond, he decides to incorporate nature in urban spaces, exacerbating and empowering the places where the city grows, proposing a reflection on the environment that belong to us and that we deserve. The work he has developed jointly with many landscapists throughout Venezuela, from Puerto Ordaz to Peninsula de Paraguaná, including Mérida and Caracas witnesses an unflagging wish of working and represent in reality the images of nature that have accompanied him since his childhood.
Moreover, his work holds a spiritual and psychological dimension that surpasses the architectural and engineering realms. It entails the aspect of mental health Ricardo proposes when embellishing houses, buildings or public squares with a reality that very few of us take for granted: beauty. James Hillman, the great American psychoanalyst, after a long professional career that begun after obtaining his PhD in Zurich and being entitled as Director of Studies in the Jung Institute in Switzerland, decided to give up his therapeutic path to devote to ecology. Numerous Hillman´s studies on the psychology of archetypes address on the earnestness of his research, but long after, as he confessed to novel writer Michael Ventura in an extraordinary book of conversations – “We have has one hundred years of psychoanalysis and the world is increasingly worse -, I conclude that mental illnesses are the result of a life “lived” aside beauty, without the presence and saving company of images and situations that struggle and vanquish ugliness, grotesqueness, anti-esthetics, imperfections, the noxious habit of living outside and even against nature.” It’s not a coincidence that Ricardo Gil has studied with Robert hand, a specialist on heliocentric astrology and cosmobiology, graduated in Princeton University and with upper degrees in Medieval History.
The strength of Ricardo Gil´s work can be felt and it is perceived with ease, as a deep breath in a suffocated city harassed by pollution and almost apocalyptical sensations, typical of the diseases originated by the situations studied by Hillman: the absence of beauty. The balance and sound judgment in his proposal reaches us without any apparent effort because it is the indisputable evidence of the need of this kind of works that heighten and enable the pursuit of a life full of esthetic blessings.