“They say that from the time I learned to express myself verbally, I showed a fervent and unshakable desire to: PAINT
My deep love for ART transformed my early vocation in my academic and professional career, a path of continual growth marked by a constant search for excellence, in form and content through effort.
PAINTING is to me an exceptional CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION without borders, without limits of time or space, capable of establishing a continuous, unending and private dialogue between the one that gazes at it, recreating it and the one that created it, feeling it; using its own language and style explained under the SYMBOLIC REALISM heading.”
María José Aguilar Gutiérrez is born one cold, rainy, early morning on January 15th, 1964 in the city of Seville, Spain.
She is the second daughter of three siblings born through the marriage between Fernando Aguilar Escudero and María del Carmen Gutiérrez Llamas, whose separation would take place when María José was just turning three years old.
María del Carmen would abandon the marriage home and would move with her three children to live in the home of her parents and nanny, Antonia Albalate, faithful servant to them all.
Her childhood and early youth take place between the city of her birth, the Bay of Cádiz, and the Jaén mountains.
From her earliest age, María José demonstrates artistic inclinations and abilities which would later be encouraged by the favorable influence of her mother, a doctor in Historical Art.
This circumstance would allow her to acquire early contact and knowledge about her great passion, ART and to grow up admiring great masters of the History of Painting that she would find in the specialty manuals and books within her reach, these being Spanish baroque painters like Murillo, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal…those that would have a first and great influence on her.
She begins her schooling at Colegio de las Reverendas Madres Mercedarias de la Asunción, Seville, where she completes her primary school education.
She enrolls at the I.B. 'Velázquez' (Velázquez High School), Seville, where she will receive her high school diploma and a University Orientation Certificate (C.O.U., in Spanish).
She begins her university studies at the Facultad de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts) of Seville.
In November she travels to Italy, where for the first time a dream becomes a reality: to closely observe the work of great Italian masters.
She decides to study parallels in the Escuela de Artes y Oficios (School of Arts and Crafts) in the same city, with the desire to expand her knowledge in other artistic areas.
She obtains a degree in Painting from the Universidad Hispalense.
Afterward she will travel for four months through Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Morocco, where she will return from determined to continue her third year studies.
In the month of December she travels for the first time to Vancouver (Canada).
In the spring she will visit Holland where the city of Amsterdam in particular becomes a place she continuously returns to in the following years. She feels an undeniable admiration for the meticulousness of Flemish painters, that along with Sevillian baroque painting and sculpting would lay the foundation for her later production. Two artists would leave an indelible imprint on her during this first trip: Rembrandt and Van Goh.
In the month of July she passes the exams to obtain the degree of Associate Professor of High School Drawing.
That summer, again in Canada and from Vancouver she will begin a long trip through the British Columbia states and Alberta, where in addition to being able to admire the unequalled beauty of the landscapes, she will have the opportunity to come into contact with small segments of population belonging to native tribes, supporters of a significant artistic production full of content and traditional craftsmanship.
At the same time, she proves that the richness of this country had made possible significant and serious advances in new technologies, much above other countries and that, applied to the artistic, represented a revolution not only in form, but also in artistic concepts. The Canadian artistic avant garde flowed into other paths very different from anything seen before.
Teaching work, the logical efforts of any doctoral candidate to bring to life a research idea (in her case centered on the development of artistic creativity) hinder her from dedicating herself fully to what she truly desires to do: paint.
Her concern with mastering the craft part of painting is essential. She is conscience that only strict discipline will allow for achievement of this first goal and will reaffirm her positioning in realism, making the figure the central theme of her work.
A domestic accident destroys almost all of her work, fruit of the first steps of her artistic journey. This year, along with the next two take place between her native Seville (the last details for the commemoration of the V Centennial of the Discovery of America), Holland, France, and Canada.
The World’s Fair in Seville begins. The city is a continuous melting pot of cultural exchanges that makes her dream of new projects that are not foreign to her.
In her personal life a series of crucial events take place that will cause a significant change in the order of her priorities and projects, forcing her irremissibly to forget some and to postpone others.
Later she would have to resign from teaching; however, no obstacle was able to separate her from her artistic work which she remains dedicated to at this present time.
Antonio Zambrana Lara
Painter and Professor of Pictorial Work at the Universidad de Sevilla (University of Seville).
Painter and Member-Elect of the Real Academia de Las Artes y las Letras de Extremadura (Royal Academy of the Arts and Letters of Extremadura).
María José Aguilar Gutiérrez
Painter and Assistant Professor of Drawing, Autonomous Government of Andalusia.
Painter and Professor of Color Theory, Autonomous Government of Andalusia.