About The Artwork
Graceful in its simplicity, Aurora Cañero’s Boat #1 portrays a single figure rowing a long, narrow racing shell. The lines of the sculpture are slender and elegant. As the Spanish artist does in many of her works, here Cañero incorporates the pedestal into the overall design, suspending the boat atop two slim rods that extend down from the rower’s hands, thus striking a fine balance between the horizontals of the boat and base and the vertical positioning of the oars. Shell and base echo one another in shape, creating a kind of mirror effect or the suggestion of a reflection in the water.
Veracity does not appear to be the artist’s main objective, for several reasons. First, the oars held in the figure’s hands extend not out into the water but rather down to the base of the sculpture. Further, the rower wears a body-hugging tank top, which is a standard uniform for the craft, but instead of the contoured shoes generally worn by the athletes, this figure wears nothing on his feet. Finally, the mechanics of rowing a shell are such that when the body sits upright, the legs would be extended forward. Instead of a realistic depiction of rowing, therefore, Cañero presents a symbolic image of a man propelling himself through the water.
Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University