“I really like to portray people, animals, and landscapes,” the Argentinian artist Christian Barbosa says, and his sensitivity to facial expressions and body positions gives his oil-on-canvas portraits a strong appeal. Capturing the “gestural rhythms of those portrayed” is a central aspect of his work, and the sense of movement, texture and space in his work magnifies the effect of those rhythms. But while revealing the personalities of his subjects is one goal of his paintings, it is hardly the only one. With their bold use of line and color, Barbosa’s paintings express what he calls a “double opinion” about his subjects—bringing each one alive while also documenting the experience of making the painting.
Barbosa cites Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon as major influences in his work, and his paintings share the combination of realism and expressionism that makes their work so powerful. In particular, his handling of light and shadows shows echoes of Freud’s style, but Barbosa’s portraits bring those influences powerfully into the present, helping him to realize his goal of finding beauty in what surrounds him.