"Everything is spontaneous, without sketch or scenario. Just feelings."
Juan Barquero’s art is a sophisticated psychological double entendre articulated in mediums and techniques that realise themes of sensuality, corporeality and temporality. A poetic sensibility suspends parts of the human condition that might otherwise feel burdensome or abhorrent and enables us to examine them with parallel intimacy and distance. Not unlike his muse, French poet Saint-John Perse, Juan’s work charts a journey navigating a vast body, which is always deftly rendered by the draftsman and painter.
Celebrating the gentle contours of the female body with fine, sensual, fluid lines that reference an unrestrained dance, Juan’s drawings provide a seductive entry point to an intense oeuvre, introducing enduring themes of sensuality, corporeality and temporality, which then find an intense, visceral realisation in his pastels, where the viscous opacity of wax-bound oil replaces the drawings’ translucent washes of colour. The spontaneous removal of the medium through acts of rubbing and scratching serves to create quasi-definition and provide value nuance while mirroring the disinhibition native to throes of passion. A subtext acknowledges organic erosion, or wounding, by time, which is a subject of fascination for the artist, who has previously staged a pastel exhibition based on French poet Saint-John Perse’s ‘Amers’ and admires cave drawings. Abstract marks and shapes created in a charged palette of reds and oranges reconcile sensuality and a more archetypically masculine aggression while the dual figures simultaneously suggest union and disintegration, of one and other and/or one and one’s internal representation of other in a sophisticated psychological double entendre. These prevailing themes and motifs reach a climactic culmination in acrylic paintings - explosive compositions in which figure is often indistinguishable from ground. Motifs such as hands are transmogrified to elude effects of familiarity and instead stoke the work’s primal essence, which is coerced with rich layers of highly-pigmented paint that appears to settle on the surface like a stain. The abstraction mirrors their lack of explicit spatial definition while marshaling the viewer's vision as the minds of both artist and viewer become proxies for topography and emotions spanning ecstasy and terror take turns in a kind of pas de deux.
Artist / Editor
Drawing Impulsive Emotions with Juan Barquero
Juan Barquero discovered art as the one true method of self-expression, defining his art as an instinctive body language, also seen as an avant-garde of the society. With a strong passion towards human nature, he follows his instincts that lead him to represent the female figure to set his soul free. Juan shared with us the revelations behind his artworks and his relationship with emotions.
Let us explore your world with you, when did it all start?
Well…I think that I chose to paint when I discovered and understood that I could express myself and my emotions in a more direct way through art than writing. It is a more instinctive body language. Drawing is nothing else than trying to understand the human nature. Painting is only the manifestation of my senses… I’ve worked for a long time as a graphic designer but in the end it was only for economic reasons: painting is my true meaning.
Your predominant subject is the female body, why?
By soaking up the female mysteries, I’m exploring an unknown world: complex, sensual and powerful. Apart from its curves and lines, the female body is an overflowing world of subtlety and delicacy. A place gathering powerful senses. I’m trying to capture movements, gesture that are showing the soul. I want to display the female body in its plenitude without taboo, in full possession of its sexuality, while connected to the spiritual. Its acknowledgement as a beingand not as an object. What it matters is knowing if this body feels joy, happiness, pleasure. If it is well connected to its heart, its soul, its wild nature. If it moves and dances intuitively. I’m amazed by the body power when it is moved from the inside… I’m looking for the full sensuality, movement, eroticism,and vulnerability of the corporal expression.
Your artwork is really intimate, what are the feelings and the psychological aspects that you want to represent and where do you take that sensibility from?
I want to show the power of the body, its beauty, the desire as a metamorphosis of the being. Enlighten that the body is the expression of the soul without a mask in its intimacy, the true gesture uncensored without taboo: the body freed. People watching it need to appreciate that power, that erotic tension, that truth emanating from the body. For that I have to be true as I create: I can only be led by my emotions and feelings. There’s no conceptualization. I try to follow my instinct.
What do you want your audience to feel or experience when they are looking at your paintings?
The fact that people have feelings is amazing when you think about it. As my work is mid abstract mid figurative, the more you look at it, the more you will find signs that mean something to you, that affect you and think it through.
« Painting is an aid to vision. It turns life, the complexity of life, into something visible. It reveals things that we don’t know how to see. » Bram Van Velde
How do you think that visual art inspires the retail industry?
Well they have to find ideas somewhere… Everything is recycled, people are taking ideas from each other. Art is always ahead, it is the avant-garde of the society.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my life or maybe poetry where I find all the themes that have meaning for me. Also from music, it gives rhythm, breathing, and energy. And for sure from travelling…between France, New York, Chile…But the bright idea is irrational, it is imposed to you, you can only pass it on…
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Someone told me that I have a very personal style, that my drawing is very particular… So, the best advice I received was to find that style because it is your brand, your signature, how you know it is from you and no one else…
By: Martina Ronchetti
Copyright © 2016. Juan Barquero all rights reserved. No publication, no print without clarified approval.
All photographs presented here are the sole property of JUAN BARQUERO. Published works are protected under domestic and international copyright laws and are not considered to be public domain. No photograph may be reproduced, copied, manipulated, or used whole or in part of a derivative work, without written permission. All right reserved.