The portraits of Spanish artist Jaime Valero are an interesting example of contemporary realism that embodies the duality of simplicity and complexity. Each large-scale painting is pared down to a few basic elements seen throughout all of Jaime Valero’s work: a solitary figure typically from the shoulders up in an aquatic environment. The figures, both male and female, sometimes look out at the viewer, other times they are preoccupied with activity. While the format of each piece is minimal, it’s the painters’ acute observation of the figure that adds layers of densely packed information and visual complexity to the painting.
Alexandre Madureira is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture, installation, and performance. In his paintings, one can get a sense of his artistic ambitions: Alexandre mixes modern pop culture, art history, slogans and film references, skewering our insatiable consumption of both high and low cultural artifacts.
The paintings of Eloy Morales- large-scale hyperrealistic portraits- are astounding feats of technical skill with an immediate and intense visual impact. While other artists working in hyperrealism may be content to have the technical skill be the overriding concern, these paintings hold the attention with a psychological weight imbued in the subject, often the artist’s own face.
Looking at the work of Jesús Perea, one might assume that the artist producing these limited edition prints would be of the ink-stained hand variety, creating textural, tonal prints in a traditional print making studio. These prints of Jesús, are in fact, wholly digital creations where the artists has mixed scans of different textures, papers, stains etc., and manipulated those elements into elegant abstract compositions before printing.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter- all tools of the “millennials”, the new generation of young people who have come of age with the power to broadcast their image around the globe with a click of button. Billions of photos recording the minutia and mundanity of their lives circulate on social media, revealing not just a modern youth culture, but a burgeoning aesthetic sense too- the selfies, and arms-length photos of consumption and consumerism, documented and shared.
There are some artists who create paintings that welcome your gaze and invite you to a leisurely moment of contemplation at your own pace. Pleasant, uplifting and decorative, the artist allows the viewer control of the situation. Not so with the work of Dino Valls. These paintings push back hard, and challenge you to meet the gaze of the exquisitely crafted figures of young girls and boys – eyes that dare you to not look away, to instead face the darkness, the disturbing, and the anxious.
Ismael Fuentes is a contemporary artist whose portraits and figurative paintings are a blending of traditional techniques and genre with a modern, ironic sensibility. His painterly approach to his work always reveals the hand of the artist, with visible layers of paint building his subjects; some areas acutely observed and focused, others areas mere suggestions of an object rendered with a confidant brushmark.
Javier Arizabalo’s paintings are an incredible example of a refined technique and dedication to realism of a master painter. The oil on linen paintings have the look of photo realism as every wrinkle, pore and imperfection is captured by the artist-we are left with the impression that nothing has escaped his attention and even the smallest of details is worthy of notice.
Pedro Rodriguez Garrido is an artist whose oil on board paintings focus on the urban landscape of cities including New York and Chicago. His painterly approach to his work which includes multiple layers of colours applied and dragged over the surface, create a dynamic tension that captures the movement and vibrancy of the city.