The author


Figure, portrait, still life, landscape. Names, terms, labelling. Academia. I do not believe in genre painting. Painting either is, or is not. Independently of the subject depicted.

But in the portrait we paint the neighbour. The closest one. We invade with paint his personal borders, and he disrupts with his presence our creative solitude. He delves into our seclusion. This collision of intrusions is what forces us. Both painter and model. Two beings trying to coexist one within the other.

Very few still paint the human being. Paintings appear deserted from people. A strange face causes us unrest. We prefer to ignore it.

We are enclosing ourselves in our niches. Until they smell rotten.

Then we open the windows.

Painting in our days is being categorized. No one seems to be interested in the portrait of an anonymous face.

We only wish to see the portrait of our child, of our wife, of the mother we wish to remember.

We, figure painters, we who paint people survive through commissions, filling alien homes with family presence of loved ones.

We must bring portraits to life without flattery, and transform them into courageous paintings. Unique portraits, like every person portrayed. We must not fall into repetition, the script of this sad trade.

We must face portraits and build them without flattery, and transform them into courageous paintings. Unique portraits, like every person portrayed. We must not fall into repetition, a recipe, or a sad trade.

Lively portraits, so that they don’t travel from the living room to the hallway, and from the hallway to the den, to be sentenced there for life.

Commissioned portraits that disappear from the studio once I finish them, turning me into a painter without any artwork for the foolish eye.

Or other portraits, the ones I choose, those that emerge from a free impulse, far from the boundaries of business. A face that touches you and reaches you then. Faces that will be saving me, that I will collect. Faces that will live in the walls of my studio, filling the shadows with life. Faces that will accompany me till death.

A portrait is a silent confrontation. A mutual and unspoken confession. A profile of the other, but also a mirror reflecting the describer.

To portray is walk the unknown. To look at our son as if he was a stranger, and to look at an outsider as if he was kin.

A look that narrates without judging, a look that explores another skin and go deep into it. We are the souls in other’s body, children of the same mystery, beings that are finally wide-open, nothing is strange to us.

When you do portrait, you are no longer the father, the son, the friend, the brother. All family bonds were left behind.

I would like to paint every day face. The face of one person progressing in life towards death. So many faces, one after the other in exhibition, almost identical, unrecognizable from the first one into the last one.

Tomorrow, when all gazes are fixed in our days, they will need the link those that were involved in painting with the human being. Those that patiently sited. Those that faced the world. Those who revealed themselves in the other face.

A clear look on another face, in any timeperiod.

Pedro Oriol