PAINTINGS – PINTURAS

Narrator of a journey across the enchanted world of legends and mythology, Raúl GUERRA is an artist possessed of a curiosity that is at once insatiable and prolific. Anchored in pragmatism, he always considers beyond a ‘just-finished’ canvas

Raúl GUERRA has a particular interest for both Celtic and Greco-Roman mythology. After travelling in the south of Spain, in Morocco and in Northern Ireland, Raúl began to establish new formulas that combined his Irish influences (folklore) with the mix of Christian and Arabic styles of his Andalusian roots. It is from here that his ‘figures / religious icons’ emerged, representing both historical or fictional characters from a decisively modern viewpoint.

With their imposing countenances and the use of weaves (chequerboard and Australian Aboriginal patterns among others), Raúl’s work recalls that of Gustav Klimt and even further, that of G. Moreau representing Salomé or Leda. A connection with the science-fiction and fantasy universe is also evident; with portraits of queens, magicians and witches that might have emerged from the comics of Philippe Druillet. One can also find elements of portraiture from Renaissance Italy (profiles).

The influence exercised by these heroic fantasy themes burgeons most evidently in his later works, due no doubt to his passion (and unquestionable talent) for illustration. The female subjects can at times resemble water-nymphs or other evanescent fairy creatures. This particular pictorial style is underpinned by the multiple mythologies of times past and yet to come.

It is interesting therefore to consider the connection between mythology and ‘primitive’ art. Where, after all, does one end and the other begin…? The figures in Raúl’s work are placed against backgrounds that are washes of colour, fields of pointillism and simple geometric shapes that harken back to earlier artistic movements.

Raúl GUERRA never hesitates to mix artistic styles and movements . Symbolism and Realism as well as the decorative Art Nouveau with passing touches of fantasy illustration. The lines are strong, the profiles audacious – his colours are tints are simple, almost primitive.

The artist has always felt a strong connection with watercolours and pencils combined with acrylics. He particularly enjoys the traditional quality offered by wood as a support for his works. As always however, he is an artist of many means who will laud the use of anything and everything. He remains a strong user of pencils, for adding finesse (particularly to skin, hair and facial details) as well a very restricted mixture of no more than five or six acrylics. Although his most well-kept technical secrets will – of course – remain thus, for a clue, get close to one of the predominantly ochre canvases.

This display reveals itself to be tripartite with three colours dominating. In time, these women have moved towards a more and more intrinsic softness. The regard, the colour, the dissolving of substance. The artist paints in a progressive way while setting down the raw materials that must emerge with strength. These latest works make more of a place for subtlety and perhaps even for mystery. These most recent canvases are more timid but nevertheless possessed of a deep evocation of signs and symbols that draw us into an unquestioned daydream.

His paintings have evolved towards a more historic and more intimate aspect linked to the earth. Today his works express various influences and his more mature style is the result of his past experiences the constant refining of his techniques. It seems clear to evoke the spiritual movements in his paintings as we are presented such pointedly mystical figures (women in prayer, veiled, priestesses…) The artist evokes freely his Christianity which has doubtless inspired him in a more or less constant manner. He doesn’t, however, limit himself to the traditional courses drawn from mythological or biblical scenes and one cannot easily attribute the signifying or symbolic contents of his work; a large part is given to his free imagination. One could say therefore that it’s about his personal mythology.

Contrary to a lot of work seeped in sensuality, his feminine evocations keep a lot of delicacy. Moreover, one may ask why has he chosen women as subjects? Is this not a simple yet significant choice in itself?

Known simply as Raúl GUERRA in the art world, Raúl Jiménez Guerra is a Spanish painter and illustrator from Andalusia (Ronda, Malaga). He earned a ‘bachillerato artistico’ equivalent to the ‘baccalauréat artistique’ in Malaga and a university diploma from the University of Granada – specialising in painting et graphic arts. He then undertook a personal crusade in search of the motifs that would define his illustrations and paintings.

During a stay in London, Raúl began to show his works in several galleries around the city, refining his technique in the process. On returning to Spain, he continued to show his work in various exhibitions.

Currently living in Paris where he has found a new source of inspiration not only in the grand monuments, but also in the subtle beauty of the old Parisian neighbourhoods, Raúl is continuing his study of fine arts.

www.raulguerra.net