Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I stumbled across the work of Santiago Ydanez very recently and haven't stopped staring. I have always been especially fond of portraiture for the obvious reasons: its ability to convey an acute and wide variety of human emotions; conveyance of striking realism or shocking mutation as seen in expressionist work; and always the intense reading of the EYES.
Ydanez works on 200cm canvases with minimalist colouring. Many of his pieces are done with more variation in hue, but I've chosen the above to showcase because I LOVE the strong contrast in his use of black and white.
What's most intriguing is his brushstroke; his work leans toward expressionism in its wild application of paint, however, it is evident that there is extreme calculation in his gestures. His portraits are not born of improvisation or of loose emotional abandon, but of painting used as an instrument and not an aim unto itself. It is an extremely successful pairing of opposite schools of thought.
While researching Ydanez I came across one of the reference images he had shot himself for one of his many 'untitled' works (top). He covers his subjects' faces in everything from (what looks to be) food colouring to whipped cream before photographing their screaming, twisted visages.
It's brilliant. So powerful. Be sure to have a look at the gallery video!