If you happen to be in London in June, or in the first half of July, do not miss the chance to survey the remarkable art of Manolo Valdes. The renowned Spanish artist, who currently resides both in Madrid and New York, is best known for his figurative paintings, but sculptures make a big part of his oeuvre as well. All of his works are informed by art history in a unique way, while explicitly referring to the art of Velázquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, Matisse, Picasso. Although highly influenced by the work of these art masters, Valdes has picked up a very clear style of his own throughout his career.
The artist is familiar with a variety of mediums, but there are some motives that keep them all together and point to the name of Manolo Valdes. The subject itself is usually related to historical data, or the important occurrences from our modern lives which are about to make history one day. Valdes has, therefore, been opposing the dictatorship of Francisco Franco through his art, but he was also interested in revisiting the stories about Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The subjects that he is concerned with are approached from different perspectives, meaning, through different genres, but always with the same, genuine sentiment.
The other motif that seems to reappear in the art of Manolo Valdes is the concept of density. His paintings are made with thick layers of paint, carrying a sense of heaviness, which ultimately relates to the heaviness of his sculptures. Density, whether intentionally or not, is found everywhere - in the opaque surface of his paintings, in the ponderous mass of wood and metal, in the bold, brave decision to regard history and art history each step of the way. Even his drawings, which are supposed to be a bit lighter as a medium per se, are not much different from his heavy, almost three-dimensional paintings. Some of the techniques that he deploys rely on the principles of collage-making, which ultimately helps him build these "heavy" images with an uneven surface.
The artworks of Manolo Valdes are part of numerous art collections and have been exhibited all across the globe. His collaboration with Marlborough galleries has been ongoing for 25 years, however this particular exhibition turns out to be his first solo show in the United Kingdom in over 10 years. The exhibition will be on display from June 10th through July 15th 2016, at Marlborough Fine Art in London. It will reflect on a wide selection of his works, focusing on sculpture, on his most recent paintings and works on paper. The opening reception is scheduled for June 9th, 6-8 PM.
Featured images: Manolo Valdés - Odalisca, 2016, oil on burlap, 65 x 65 in, Copyright Manolo Valdés, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London (detail); Manolo Valdés - Head, 2016, wood, 37 x 41 x 70 in, Copyright Manolo Valdés, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London; Manolo Valdés - Dama, 2016, oil on burlap, 65 x 65, Copyright Manolo Valdés, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London (detail).
London, United Kingdom