Hybrid Pictures • Soler Santos

Mar 14 to Apr 4, 2017 • Tall Gallery

Pictures never lie. Or do they? Hypothetically, this poised doubt consists the crux of its seduction and hold over a viewer. In its supposed falsehood it remains as the truthful mirror that reflects back, and, ambitiously, it is “the” probable tool for mastering an examined life. Soler Santos proceeds to tell the tales of picture making in “Hybrid Pictures,” a suite of works in various media and mostly on paper and a couple on canvas that make the exhibit title hit the mark.

The crossbreeding mostly occurs in a stylistic pitting of charcoal drawing that beautifully mimics, in its own way, a photograph collaged on the picture’s ground. The works herewith evidence Soler at his very best – an artist exploring the boundaries of medium and its meaning, technique and its translated form, that coincides with the artist opening up to something riskier and bolder that puts him on the cusp, if not precipice, of artistic epiphany that marks an artist’s own pilgrimage from one level to the next.

As a spectator-audience, what is immediately captivating about the recent works is Soler’s departure into drawing, mainly using charcoal, and that also departs from the artist’s signature brand of photo-realistic painting. What is on view is produce that is freer, more graphic, strong, and exuding with the grime and traces of physical, artistic labor that are rarely permitted in the artist’s outputs.

The push and pull of the image-copied and image-offspring reiterate the conceptual underbelly that structures the technically proficiencies of Soler’s oeuvre. “Hybrid Pictures” appears to tackle the problem in a number of ways. An obvious discourse is the variety of techniques employed in executing a picture. One of the works on an intermediate scale and on canvas features a photo-image of a tied-up animal – presumably a horse, collaged on the picture’s ground. A couple of images serve to complement, one that features a geometric array that consists an abstract painting, and the other an image of an anonymously assembled sculpture. The drawings emitted from these three central images go all over each other, superimposed, subdued, encompassed, and forms the artist’s stylish manner of composition.

Another artistic problem presented is the idea of the real. The “real” meant is the idea of what is truth and absolute that is, more often than not, given the current scenario of the times, opposed by the man-made copies that are proliferated especially in the mass-media systems of today. Since the beginning of conscious intelligence, Plato poetically opposed the idea of artists making copies via representations in painted landscapes and still life genres. On to the modern age of the 20th century, Picasso and Braque (agreed upon by many art thinkers) decided to put the real into each ones’ Cubist painting by pasting real and actual objects from the outside world. Introspectively, do the paintings with objects pasted on it become part of the real world? Some disagree, but quite optimistically, by calling these excursions not equilaterally real but more real than what is real – it is a hyper real. Art seems to grow as an autonomous entity that consumes life itself. Echoing Plato, again, should it still promulgate?

The more immediate problem, the last but not the least, though it could have been placed second in the order of notes, is more pleasing, or pleasurable, as it extricates its issues from the first two, but is connected somewhat with the first point. It deals mainly with the creation of the art object. Soler seemingly raises the question that understands the source of inspiration – what comes first, the model for a work or the resulting work? In creating a simultaneous space that allows for both to exist on one picture plane, the question is posed but, somehow, naturally, obliterates itself – rendering the question irrelevant if not unnecessary. Ordinarily, one is encouraged to assume it is an exercise of sorts, or a reality-TV program where one demonstrates before the public his ability to draw by including his reference. But the thought never really crossed the mind. In the context of a parade of palimpsest paintings in recent times – from Picabia, Ernst, Salle and Polke, the superimpositions of images only betray the genius of its authors in destroying the naturalistic perspective that often confine the traditional painter.

In making the “Hybrid Pictures,” he resolves the quandary of priority in which is more significant – the copy or the source. In this case, there is no way to separate each – the coexistence is vital. It extends the directive of a closed system. In one big work, Soler superimposes charcoal forms over pictures of Greek statues, and these are regarded as perfectly proportioned models. But the drawn image, or which is the copy in the course of this discussion, magnifies the experience. Not by making a bigger scale, but magnifying the perception of the model, and thus enhancing our own experience in its entirety.

—Jonathan Olazo

Artworks from the Show

Louvre #9

Louvre #9, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #6

Louvre #6, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #3

Louvre #3, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #11

Louvre #11, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #8

Louvre #8, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #5

Louvre #5, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #2

Louvre #2, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #10

Louvre #10, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #7

Louvre #7, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #4

Louvre #4, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Louvre #1

Louvre #1, Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 17×14 in

Art Forum (after Bruyckers, Grotjahn etc)

Art Forum (after Bruyckers, Grotjahn etc), Soler Santos, 2017, Oil, acrylic, charcoal, collage on canvas, 48×38 in

Art Forum (After Shiota, Ireland, McEwen, Woodman)

Art Forum (After Shiota, Ireland, McEwen, Woodman), Soler Santos, 2017, Oil, acrylic, charcoal, collage on canvas, 48×38 in

Zacharias & Ezekiel (After Michelangelo)

Zacharias & Ezekiel (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2017, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 60×44 in

The Libyan Sibyl (After Michelangelo)

The Libyan Sibyl (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

The Delphic Sibyl (After Michelangelo)

The Delphic Sibyl (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Zechariah (After Michelangelo)

Zechariah (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Jonah (After Michelangelo)

Jonah (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

The Persian Sibyl (After Michelangelo)

The Persian Sibyl (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

The Erythrean Sibyl (After Michelangelo)

The Erythrean Sibyl (After Michelangelo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Nares, Ni You Yu, Tal R. etc)

Art Forum (After Nares, Ni You Yu, Tal R. etc), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Fondazione Prada)

Art Forum (After Fondazione Prada), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Xu Zhen)

Art Forum (After Xu Zhen), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Tony Matelli)

Art Forum (After Tony Matelli), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Thomas Houseago)

Art Forum (After Thomas Houseago), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Rosenfeld Porcini)

Art Forum (After Rosenfeld Porcini), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Fabello)

Art Forum (After Fabello), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Moyra Davey)

Art Forum (After Moyra Davey), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Liza Lou)

Art Forum (After Liza Lou), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Arrt Forum (After Anselm Kiefer)

Arrt Forum (After Anselm Kiefer), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Motherwell)

Art Forum (After Motherwell), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Mario Schifano)

Art Forum (After Mario Schifano), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Ari Marcopoulos)

Art Forum (After Ari Marcopoulos), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Juan Munoz)

Art Forum (After Juan Munoz), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Jo Longhurst etc)

Art Forum (After Jo Longhurst etc), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (Elizabeth Peyton)

Art Forum (Elizabeth Peyton), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Ana Mendieta)

Art Forum (After Ana Mendieta), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Nathaniel Axel)

Art Forum (After Nathaniel Axel), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Gasser & Grunert)

Art Forum (After Gasser & Grunert), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Algus Greenspon)

Art Forum (After Algus Greenspon), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in

Art Forum (After Jay Defeo)

Art Forum (After Jay Defeo), Soler Santos, 2016, Charcoal, acrylic, collage on paper, 22×15 in