When we first brought you the works of Mario Soria, the Barcelona based artist was focusing on creating portraits that tell a different story up close. From a distance, his paintings of icons like Woody Allen and Albert Einstein appeared realistic, but upon closer inspection, revealed characters interacting with them in bizarre scenes, tagging their clothing with graffiti or enjoying a musical jubilee on top of their heads. Adding to the surreal quality of his work was his incorporation of found objects like smashed soda cans and legos, which he describes as a combination of still life and traditional painting. Since then, Soria has continued to incorporate objects into his works.
“Menina: Green Lantern”, detail
Soria’s recent portraits feature a renewal of Spanish painter Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas”, nobility, and other historical figures. He frames them in ornate and over the top arrangements of items like Chinese plastic toys of horses, army figures and toy guns that correlate to each subject. The detail in their elaborate hair styles and clothing open a door for Soria to play with a heightened sense of Surrealism than in previous works. For instance, in his painting titled “Menina Azul”, or “Blue Infant”, he treats Velázquez’s María Teresa as the central figure of another world, where the wavy blue skirt of her dress is a vast ocean ridden by ships, sea turtles and goldfish, and her voluminous sleeves like puffy clouds. The little infanta, as she was called, was portrayed again by Velázquez in her adulthood. Soria replaces the seriousness and formality of the original portrait with playfulness and fantasy. Now grown up, she has evolved to be the regal goddess of this bustling ocean planet, orbited by elements of the future like spaceships and astronauts, and characters like “Astro Boy” and Hergé’s “Tintin”. Take a look at more of Mario Soria’s recent works below, courtesy of the artist.