Working at the intersection of abstraction and figuration, painter Jose Ramon Santiago makes oil paintings to communicate a universal language through the careful articulation of the gestures of the human body in silhouette. His canvases are full of atmospheric color and gesture, but avoid personal identifying features, so as to communicate emotion all the more emphatically. Santiago’s visual language is that of the collective human experience.
Through bold expressionistic brushstrokes, Santiago emphasizes the importance of gesture. The brush provides a speed and emotional value to a symbol: a fast swath of color in Santiago’s paintings is as meaningful as a silhouette of a fist punching the air. Painted in rich earth tones like raw umber, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna, the works echo the natural pigments used in cave painting, emphasizing the direct symbolism depicted in them. Yet these works go beyond cave painting in terms of the atmosphere they create. In fact, there seems to be a dreamy air similar to a Chagall painting in many of the pieces. Jose Ramon Santiago’s paintings are a true testament to freedom through creation.