“The goal of art is not to present the outward appearance of things, but their inner meaning; for this, and not the external appearance and detail, constitutes the true reality.
There are symbolic events that occur over the years, even the centuries. Coincidences of subtle connections that confirm the immortality of art, its cyclical, rejuvenating spirit.
This exhibition, “Entre luces”, is just a tribute to those first masters, promoters of the pictorial tradition.
The representation of the human figure is as old as art itself. And the portrait in particular as a genre is documented in the writings of the Latin philosopher Pliny the Elder (23 – 79) as a well-established manifestation since Ancient Greece (1200 BCE – 146 BCE). Within the History of Art, famous are the portraits made by Giotto (1266 – 1337), Raphael (1483 – 1520), Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441), Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 – 1543), Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Rubens (1577-1640), Francisco de Goya (1746 – 1828), Thomas Eakins (1844 – 1916) among many others. The truth is that, regardless of the definitive line of work of each artist in his time of maturity (landscapers, surreal, abstract, expressionists, etc.), all, almost without exception, at some point in their careers, they have made portraits with greater or lesser scope, with the intention of perpetuating one more variant within this millenary genre.
In the case of the portraits that Víctor Manuel presents to us, if we detail the expression of faces, the first ideas that come to mind are submission, sadness, uncertainty, resignation, or as some of their titles say: anguish , innocence, transgression.
Despite an adequate exterior treatment of the details (which reaches culminating points in works such as Innocence II or innocence VI) what highlights in these paintings is the internal manifestation of their characters. The artist assimilates those Aristotle’s words when he said that the important thing was the “internal meaning” of things and not his “external appearance.” His models, even those who pose naked, do not smile or show a lascivious or provocative expression. Therefore, it is not the external vision of female bodies that the artist wishes to highlight, but rather, the gender status of women, their role in today’s society, their existential anguish, their interior psychological universe.
Faces and bodies are the substrate where the artist expresses his ideas. Medium plans or close up, where the figures are the protagonists since the funds are uniform and do not present details (or are very faint) to call our attention.
Technically, the color palette is contained, based mainly on ocher, green, dark blue, gray, and black. The great formats are a constant in the artist’s form of expression. Only two works have 800 cm2, the rest, far exceed the two -dimensional area where the artist recreates his works. How much does the artist take in his paintings? Will he demand several posing sessions such as Cézanne, or a long day like Goya? We do not know, but it is certain that the result will require long hours of work.
Víctor Manuel Guerra (Pinar del Río, 1989), uses the portrait as a traditional genre of painting for the beginning of his artistic career. We do not know if it is going to stay in it or will derive to novel hyperrealist variants or new directions. However, this is just the beginning. We are in the presence, without a doubt, of a great artist in his initiation stage that amazes with works of exceptional invoice. We had not still seen the best of the artist’s work. He has at his feet, as the poet said, all the time.
Julio del Llano G.
September 2018. El meson de Grecia, Costa Rica.