Interplays

Eduardo Carrillo at Joseph Chowning Gallery
Marc Van Proyen
November, 1992

Almost all of the figure paintings are frontal portraits of individuals who (by virtue of first name titles) seem to be known to the artist, and here, Carrillo shows himself to be an astute observer of the way in which the human face functions as a telegraph of complex and sometimes even contradictory attitudes.¬†Take the smallish painting titled Doyle (1992). We have the kind of close-up inspection of a man‚Äôs face the we might associate with the more well known paintings of the British painter Lucian Freud ‚Äì a face that seems to be in the midst of some kind of self confrontation, or perhaps in the grips of a willful resolution to such a confrontation. ¬†But it is also a brilliant exercise in how subdued chromaticism can achieve its own vibrancy without lapsing into simple formulas of shade and tint. Another large painting, Ruben(1992), draws back from an examination of the sitter’s face to the ways in which his total body language communicates an attitudecasual defiance, and here, it is large, broad brush strokes that are the painterly mirrors of the person portrayed.

Two small paintings of tree dotted hillsides capture that pecular autumn atmosphere of Northern CAlifornia by using chromatic understatement to subvert obvious postcard sentimentality, while a series of still life paintings really catch Carrillo putting down his painterly chops. Many of them are comprised of objects that echo a festive exoticism, but there is a somber, disquieting mood, present as well, one that makes the still life form quietly redolent of uncanny things-that-might-come. In this pecularly aesthetic attributed, Carrillo finds his painterly heritage in the Nabis painters of turn of the century Paris, such as Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard. In Carrillo’s case, however, there is virtually no linear distortion of form, which adds to the mysterious interplay of color and tonality.

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