Pedro Paricio, Master Painters Press Release

31 May 2011

“The freshest thing I’ve seen in the emerging contemporary art world in 30 years.” Juan Manuel Bonet, Art Critic and former Director of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid

Pedro Paricio: Master Painters opens at Halcyon Gallery’s Bruton Street space, Mayfair on 12 May 2011. Tipped by international critics and curators as a rising star, Spanish artist Pedro Paricio is enjoying a serious reputation in the art world, following exhibitions throughout Spain, Europe and USA. Halcyon Gallery is delighted to present Paricio’s first exhibition in London.

Juan Manuel Bonet, Art Critic and former Director of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, has described Paricio’s work as “…the freshest thing I’ve seen in the emerging contemporary art world in 30 years”. Tomas Paredes, President of the Madrid Association of Art Critics, foresees a bright future for Paricio: “There is no deception, here is a true phenomenon – a tornado – you can feel it, you can smell it, you can see it – if you miss it, you’ll regret it”.

Halcyon Gallery spotted the artist’s originality and seminal talent, and signed Paricio following a visit to his Barcelona studio in 2010, offering its full commitment and support in these formative years of his career, for which it is renowned. In return Paricio set about creating a breathtaking series of new work entitled, Master Painters, a tour de force of kaleidoscopic colour.

In the Master Painters series, Paricio makes reference to particular paintings and characteristics of the work of several great artists including Velasquez, Caravaggio, Modigliani, Bacon and Hopper. Paricio cleverly adapts and borrows the iconic imagery of these artists and fuses it with his own visual language of masks and harlequin colours, introducing layers of meaning, and playing with the identity of subject and artist. Sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes more subtle, Paricio has obviously had great fun making this engaging series of 18 paintings.

“...to be honest, the thing that attracts me [to art] is the freedom that society gives to the artist. When you are an artist, society lets you do things that, if it weren’t for the art, you would be considered crazy.”

Paricio himself refers to his work in terms of organic and synthetic abstraction, in which there is currently a strong, renewed interest. There is something uniquely Spanish in the raw quality and sense of mystery in Paricio’s paintings – and his preoccupation with the issue of identity. His palette of dazzling primary and jewel colours evokes his experience as a child growing up in the Canary Islands and several years living and working as an artist in the vibrant city of Barcelona, where he has had a studio since 2004.

The artist‘s love of paint and fascination with colour is evident in this exhibition, which will have broad appeal. He currently works only in acrylics, tirelessly exploring techniques with the medium. Paricio’s colours are bright and harmonious but his playful compositions can be awkward, and his subjects dark, evoking a sense of disquiet in the work. In 2009, the artist introduced an unusual mix of hard lined, flat geometric and amorphous shapes alongside swathes of thick, acrylic paint in to his work.

For Paricio, painting is the most important thing in life, and he dismisses the thought of using other media or technology in response to current fashions in art, because he says painting provides him with endless possibilities. Paricio’s subjects range from contemporary science to Hispanic folklore, to cinema, music, poetry and philosophy. “... when I am happy, I go to see art. When I am sad, I go to see art. Art gives sense to my life.

I want to mix street art with traditional art to show the power of abstract art. I want to combine the ideas of Clement Greenberg with the style of Keith Haring. ... We are caught in a system and live together in a comfortable world where we want easy culture. But I want to think and develop my mind, to free it from its confines. I want to open the secret door.”        

Pedro Paricio