Spanish artist Carmen Selves paints lively oil paintings with the goal of depicting her life and her generation. Her aim is to portray her vision of the world in contemporary Spain: personal, humble, and wittily modern. She paints small moments – a flamenco dancer at a town festival, a boy squinting at a computer – that explore various eras and styles. Her subjects are vividly present, in action and voice, and they exist in fully realized environments that offer movement and warmth. People and scenes are painted close at hand, mirroring the emotional nearness of these intimate images. Colors are heightened and playful without slipping into overt stylization. When her paintings do occasionally take on a dreamlike quality, it is in subject matter: an apparition of a palette set ablaze, or a portrait of a man whose face is all but hidden by swaths of cloth.
Born in Catalonia, Selves has lived in Barcelona since the 1960’s, and has dedicated herself to painting since the 1970’s. Selves has engaged in a variety of styles, techniques, and subjects in her artistic career, including expressionist surrealism, seascapes, and urban landscapes. She draws stylistic inspiration and subject matter from her environment in Spain. She spent a period of her life studying restoration and archeology, which lends a steady hand and an interest in exploration to her work.