“The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Nilo, “No Name 6,” Mixed Media on Canvas, 31.5″ x 39.4″
As long as there has been art, there has been portraiture. Portraits were originally reserved only for those who were regarded as important – religious figures, royalty, and nobility – and were meant to be in the exact likeness of the sitter. For many of us, these are the types of paintings that come to mind when someone mentions portraits. However, there is so much more to this personalized style of art. Whether a photograph, painting, drawing, or sculpture and regardless of artistic style, a portrait is just as much about the inner psyche of the sitter as it is about their physical appearance. That is why in contemporary art, it does not matter if you recognize the face that you are seeing. Instead, it is about relating to the overall essence of the image – the emanating emotion and energy.
Each of these Agora Gallery artists have used portraiture to represent not only a specific face, but a culture, a concept, or an idea.
Some artists find a blank white canvas to be daunting. With limitless possibilities to be explored, how can you know if what you’re doing is the best thing? Bimbi Larraburu sees her canvas not as a challenge, but as an open space to express her inner self through color, line, and shape. Bimbi’s works give way to a chaotic visual effect, one that simultaneously excites and soothes any viewer. The colors are vibrant and the composition is random, and yet everything works together to create perfectly balanced abstract pieces.
Bimbi has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for her whole life, and continues to work there today. She was always interested in the arts from a very young age, but was encouraged to pursue a traditional university career, causing her to study Architecture and Advertising, elements of which she continues to bring into her art. Bimbi also studied under the Argentinian abstract painter Heriberto Zorrilla and learned the ways of the “Esencialismo” movement. In addition to her art, Bimbi loves to travel and manages a family real estate business in Argentina and the US.
Bimbi Larraburu painting in her studio in Buenos Aires
Being from Argentina, Bimbi answered some questions we had for her in her native Spanish language as well as in English. We have transcribed the interview in both languages here for all to enjoy! Read on to learn more about Bimbi’s story, as well as her techniques and inspiration.
Using her personal experiences and a social perspective, artist Chris Brandell seeks to “interpret the complexity of the human dynamic” while also expressing her passion for color. Hue, intensity, texture, and composition are all crucial to her artistic practice that she uses to invoke emotion in her audience. From a young age, Chris experienced color differently from those around her. “It’s safe to say that my color awareness is similar to my other senses – it’s tangible. I feel I can literally communicate an experience through color in a way that I cannot through words.” Her technique involves a lot of movement and little use of brushes, favoring the affects of large knives and trowels instead.
Chris Brandell in her studio
Chris has been working in the business world for many years and is also a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is housed in several private collections. After climbing the corporate ladder in a male-dominated industry and becoming a partner in her own company, Chris is ready to take on the art world and pursue art as a career.
We had the chance to talk with Chris about her art, her practice, and how her artistic self is affected by the other aspects of her life. Read on to learn more!
“The craving for color is a natural necessity just as for water and fire. Color is a raw material indispensable to life. At every era of his existence and his history, the human being has associated color with his joys, his actions and his pleasures.” – Fernand Leger
Color has been an informative element throughout the history of art. During the Renaissance, the ultramarine pigment was more expensive than gold, and thus was used in paintings to establish social-class. Contemporary art such as the spot series by Damien Hirst, focuses on the relationship between, and the representation of different colors.
There is a scientific reasoning for how color happens, but this information holds no relevance to humans, who attribute color to their lives in more sentimental ways. People claim ownership over colors by declaring their favorite from a young age. Artist’s declare ownership by manipulating the use of color to create meaning. Whether your favorite color is orange or blue, the wavelengths of light reflecting off of these works are sure to captivate and energize you.