The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Joaquin Jara’s Sculptures and Paintings Experiment with Process of Decay

Joaquin Jara is versatile. Born in Barcelona, he studied art at La Llotja, in Barcelona, and the Camberwell College of Arts in London. He finished neither. Why should he? He knew precisely what he was doing.

Joaquin Jara is versatile. Born in Barcelona, he studied art at La Llotja, in Barcelona, and the Camberwell College of Arts in London. He finished neither. Why should he? He knew precisely what he was doing.

He works in many disciplines. He’s worked on movies. For the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, he contributed murals. He also worked on The Orphanage, Biutiful, Savage Grace, and Inside Silvia’s City. For these, he contributed portraits that enhance the film’s atmosphere.

He’s worked in dance. Here he’s collaborated with directors Lipi Hernandez and Victor Zambrana. As with the films he’s worked on, his work enhances the piece’s choreography.

He’s also collaborated with other artists, including Rosa Rodriguez.

Then there’s his solo work. He paints, he sculpts, and he intervenes. His work is baroque, moody. It’s not morose as much as it’s inevitable. It’s based on an ashes-to-ashes-dust-to-dust esthetic. Art may be long, as the expression goes, but there’s nothing permanent about the organic process each piece describes. His oils on canvas seem to dissolve before our eyes. Four portraits without germana shows the human body at different stages of decomposition. Nude women from the next down are whole, if not pristine. The head, though, shows the disintegration from time. His Portrait of Teresa shows a woman, un-decomposed, from whose body grass grows, as if she is fertilizer.

His interventions are a cross between sculpture, installation, and public art. A method informs the work. “Select a location in a natural environment, create a human situation relate with the site to leave it in that environment once finished (…) Let the created object become an individual and change. Supposedly, it is always the same, even if grass has sprouted again or if it has a new fissure (…).” The result is, literally, a body of work that blends in with its setting. Its patina is not just the effect of air on paint. It’s the effect of time on the human body.

These interventions, along with his other work, suggests that art is not different from life. That it’s part of the same process. That both have a shelf life measured in mortal time.

Related Articles
Takahiro Hirabayashi is trained in traditional Japanese painting, but in his mixed-media work, he applies these age-old techniques to contemporary portraits with a sci-fi element. Hirabayashi's characters seem to inhabit a world in decline. In many of his paintings, they appear with blood-like stains running from their mouths, and their skin often looks cracked to expose ripe, pink flesh. They seem to be disintegrating before our eyes, and the traces of their carnivorous feasts left on the front of their shirts hint at their desperation to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
"The Fourth World" is the utopian group show at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia centered around the concept of a secular paradise populated by fantastical creatures ("heaven without religion," according to the gallery). The interdisciplinary artists in the show focus on character-based 3D work. There's Erika Sanada (Hi-Fructose Vol. 31), whose dog sculptures examine animal instincts and impulses. Then there's the delicate, taxidermy-like works of Caitlin McCormack; the ornamented bone sculptures of Chris Haas; Doubleparlour's mutated creations and Adam Wallacavage's tentacled chandeliers. While the idea of "The Fourth World" hints at an idealized wonderland, there are notes of darkness in many of the works. But for a group of artists with a penchant for surrealism, there's really no other way.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s affecting mixed-media portraits recently returned in the show "Always Felt, Rarely Seen" at Almine Rech in Brussels. As with past work (Quinn was last featured on here), there's a collage-like look to the work, though all aspects are sourced through materials at the artist's hands. Yet, as the gallery says, there’s been a more personal evolution in recent work.
Painter Fabio D'Aroma's characters perpetually march westward, though it's unclear to what end. His nude men and women with protruding bellies and knobby limbs appear to be part of an endless procession. D'Aroma adorns them with anachronistic accouterments such as 19th-century bayonets, animal pelts and punk rock mohawks, making it impossible to determine the continuity between the various works in the series. His highly stylized paintings are currently on view at New York's Jonathan LeVine Gallery through November 8 for his solo show, "West of Ovest." The artist says that our culture's crippling obsession with social media — and the resulting social awkwardness — was the inspiration behind his ungainly figures.

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List