In the simplest terms, San Francisco-based painter Emilio Villalba creates portraits. Yet, these works are crafted at a crossroads of two influences, as cited by the artist: master works and the human condition. As a traditional portrait can captivate with the subject’s eyes, your own gaze must adjust first to the distorted points of entry in works like “Disorder,” above. In a past artistic statement, Villalba says his work is what happens when “the familiar is fractured and distorted by outside influence.”
In an April show at Modern Eden Gallery, Villalba’s vivid, engrossing portraits adorn the walls of the San Francisco space. The show is titled “The Next Day” (which isn’t named for the David Bowie record, though Villalba is a fan), and its namesake piece can be seen below.
When last featured on Hi-Fructose, Villalba was on the journey that led to this emotive, liberated style of brushwork, abandoning the geometric structures of the past. The result is a stirring set of visuals, with tongue-in-check titles like “It’s Not Me, It’s You,“ ”No Makeup Today,“ ”I’m Fine, Thanks,“ and ”I Never Did Anything Out of the Blue.“
Villalba’s “The Next Day” at Modern Eden runs through April 30. Check out his Instagram account, where he often shares in-process work and engages with followers.