METAL PAINTINGS

CARLOS FRANCO

Under the title "Metal paintings" the Miguel Marcos gallery opens the individual exhibition of Carlos Franco, who intends to make a brief reading of the last years of production of one of the initiators of the New Madrid Figuration and present the work Recent on the sheet metal.

 

The figure of Carlos Franco (Madrid, 1951) strongly bursts into the Spanish art scene, showing a painting of great personality and a drawing that projects the vital force to the entire work. Work that from its beginning has been guided by ideals that have evolved over the years, but to which the artist has always been faithful.

 

It is a dedalic painting, excessive, in which there is a huge number of planes and in which the central integrative perspective of the set is challenged, ideally passable for the viewer. To abound in the interpretative difficulty of his works, one aspect of his figures is decisive. These are not built, as usual, through a profile that rigorously determines the shape of things. The silhouettes of each of them, as well as the space in which they are presented, have sharp and still powerful contours.

 

At the end of the nineties a facet of material experimentation can be mastered in the great production of Carlos Franco. In 1996 the artist for the first time used aluminum as a support in his work. He is fascinated by the plasticity of this material that allows multiple points of view and reading of the work, depending on the volumes of the painting and the light itself that makes it the protagonist. The performance of the materials on the aluminum support is another highlight. In the first works we also find acrylic, sand glued with glue, there is silicate paint that grips aluminum very well.

 

In 1997, the first version of La Menina appears, a piece that occupies an important place in the artist's work and whose version of the year 2018 forms the current exhibition in the gallery. The first version of La Menina hardly had the application of paint on the metal sheet, it was only the elaboration of the support, in this case soft aluminum. The work was changed according to the lighting, in a few moments everything went dark, in others, the other way around, faces and light folds. “The metal support itself becomes the protagonist of the work through the face, points and lines (...) Based on this picture, the idea of ​​making a complete series, consisting of many versions, arises, because there would be many points of view with different light and the picture changes in each of these versions. "At the moment they are only in photos of interior landscapes," says Carlos Franco.

The Menina in mirror, 2018 is based on a previous work on soft sheet, later the application of a mixture of both acrylic and silicate techniques appears. The aesthetics of aluminum, its tonality and its crystallization that make the most of the effects of light on the painting are very much used as an integral part. It is a geometric and largely minimalist work and in some parts acquiring cubist orders, but always captivating, while you discover it, what catches you is the whole game of the folds and different shades of light that appear on the aluminum, thus allowing minimal intervention through brushstroke and drawing and making the most of the effects of light on the frame.

 

Its production has a great integrity and continuity that has not been contaminated by the external world, without first having gone through a process of conceptual assimilation that reverts in the particular way of its plastic work and of understanding the surrounding environment, qualifying for the analytical vision of reality.

 

In this intellectual process, mythology becomes one of the keys to its iconography; great importance of it occupies the landscape, which had been hated by the avant-garde and he develops it in his own way. In it he elaborates all his philosophy of conception of art: the search for the brushstroke that is able to solve the space, to give that stain a final, complete, finished character, giving it its own identity, in short, is to give the brushstroke fair.

 

This landscape painting, recurring in the work of Carlos Franco, establishes a certain parallel with oriental art and more specifically with calligraphy, since oriental writing also has that character of complete and final brushstroke.

 

It is important to highlight the issue of freedom that is present in some works that make up the current exhibition. Freedom that to be understood must go to its beginnings as an artist, in which he suffered a serious accident that kept him a long season subject to a hospital room, wrong space, overwhelming, not only in a spatial sense, but also emotional. Therefore, there is a need to create a focus of expansion, a place where freedom of everyday life dissolves into freedom, without ties and without the need for artifice. The door, on many occasions represented in the work of Carlos Franco, thus becomes the vanishing point to which all his looks, both physical and intellectual, are directed, in search of a free space that absent him for the moments of the prison of convalescence.

 

In the current exhibition we present two recent works that deal with the theme of The Door, made on the toughest aluminum sheet with very sharp edges. The artist liked from the beginning this feeling of the need to treat the piece with special delicacy when taking. The sheet metal seems to be floating as the frame is much smaller than the paint support. The door to vesuvius, 2015 is composed of several characters that are in a geometric space where in the background we find the mountainous landscape. The center of the composition is the door and faces full of movement that go in opposite directions, possibly, is an allegorical way of dealing with the theme of the passage of life, recurring in the artist's work. "There is also a mixture of techniques, and there is also a mixture of meanings, there are some images that bring you closer to the primitive art worlds, the others bring you closer to the classical worlds." says Carlos Franco.

 

In another order of things, the support, in this case the metal, acts as an enlightening element that gives us the key to see beyond what we perceive. That is why its appearance in the works generates a tension that tends to find a solution that is capable of deciphering the multiple readings that lead us to a new understanding of existence. The forms treated with different points of view, the colors softened or enhanced in different crystalline planes of the same reality.

 

The open door, 2013 narrates the same theme as the aforementioned painting, although this time the artist focuses on the elaboration of the support that creates the axis of the composition. It is a subtle image that represents the woman who is going to the other side of the painting, the work has very little color, allowing you to enjoy the elaboration of aluminum and the natural light that works on the support.

 

“Given the difficulty of covering reality, the subject becomes a handle,” writes Carlos Franco. With this premise, the author conceives Art –which he calls “the process of perception-expression” - as an organ of the senses that allows to combine not only what is seen, but also what is intuited, what is imagined and what underlying as the root of the visible. In this way, his cosmogony is reflected in his works as a more absolute version of reality, from which more and more details, more points of view, more colors and more plot twists are emerging. It goes from the greatest to the least, from the abstract to the concrete; It tries to disrupt the intended uniqueness of the meaning of words, claiming its own liberating abilities.