Juan Escauriaza: An Uncommon Portrait of San Francisco
In the mind of the Spanish painter Juan Escauriaza, there is no beauty without honesty. In his deftly composed canvases of San Francisco’s urban landscape, Escauriaza captures the purity of the everyday and the exquisite in the banal. As an outsider looking in, he does not romanticize the American experience, nor is he compassionless in his interpretations. In fact, these are the paintings of a man in the midst of a love affair with the overlooked moments routinely shaping the city streets in which we live.
An Uncommon Portrait of San Francisco marks Escauriaza’s second body of work concentrating on the “City by the Bay.” With the eye of a documentary photographer, he instinctively hones in on what makes San Francisco so beguiling. Though he often renounces the picturesque in favor of the evocative, Escauriaza does not aim to merely duplicate the nuances of the city, but instead to give us pause, and to allow us the opportunity to uncover the mystery of the human experience. His facades, though worn with the passage of time, resonate with emotional intimacies and untold tales. Is there beauty in weathered signage or in the shadows of electrical wires that traverse the sky at dusk? For Escauriaza, the answer is always yes. He sees honesty in the simplicity of those moments, as he shares the quiet stories of each shadow cast and every sidewalk crack. It is this unique sensitivity and vision paired with his dazzling skill as a painter, that allows a forgotten storefront to become a sacred offering.