Artist in Focus: Javier Banegas

Plus One Gallery
Nov 17, 2017 4:08PM

‘Composition in Primary Colours’ Oil on panel, 55 x 198 cm

Quick Review

Born: 1974, Madrid Spain
Studied:  1998, Bachelor of Fine Arts - University of Madrid

Work: Banegas produces close-up  still life depictions of items that have been altered by the presence of  humans. Working mainly with oil on board or canvas, Banegas produces  some of the most spectacular hyper-realistic paintings, while still  giving his viewers room for personal interpretation.
Selected publications: 2008  ‘The Railroad in Art. Printmaking in the XIX – XXI Centuries’, edited  by: Spanish Railroad Foundation 2007 ‘Train in the Spanish Painting’,  edited by: Rene, Communication, Branding and Advertising Direction.

'Shavings Pink and Turquoise' Oil on board, 95 x 190 cm

Javier Banegas has been painting since  he was a child, practicing almost every day and setting himself  challenges to improve in each painting he created. It was clear to him  from a very young age that he would study art and make it his career.  Initially painting in many different styles, Banegas was inspired by a  variety of genres from classicism to surrealism. It wasn’t until he  clearly identified with his subject that he began exhibiting his  paintings, these paintings focused on a more realistic style and from  here, he progressed to hyperrealism. After completing his Fine Art  degree in 1998 he won the Penagos Drawing Award and in 2008 he was the  winner of the Ciudad De Alcalá Painting Award. His career as a  hyperrealist painter continues to go from strength to strength as does  his subject matter and his ability to create the most compelling  compositions.

He is known for producing close-up still  life depictions of items, that have been altered by the presence of  humans. He explores the interaction with these items and, whether it is  the shaving from a pencil or paint pots left without lids, gives the  impression that someone, somewhere is not quite finished.

The essence of human interaction which  is present in all his works denotes a sense of 'passing of time'. The  monumentality Banegas creates by enlarging objects, stimulates the  viewer to appreciate the inner beauty and meaning of the mundane. Just  as one artist would paint flowers in full bloom, Javier Banegas paints  objects in a period of transition. The difference being that the  subjects of his paintings are inanimate, therefore they are not  suspended in life but instead are captured after action.

From left: 'Eighteen Colours' Oil on board, 110 x 100 cm | 'Eight' Oil on board, 80 x 94 cm

In spite of being a hyperrealist artist, Javier Banegas suggests much  more than he relates. He evokes more than he specifies. He tells more  about what he hides than about what he shows. As a result, a 'human  dehumanization' takes place in his work. It is difficult to find people  represented in his paintings, but despite this fact, his repeated main  characters are the passing of time and the human mark.

Hyperrealist  painting is sometimes accused of being excessively explicit. However, in  this sense, Javier's work turns out more suggestive than narrative. If  saying much with a few words is a good communicator's virtue, the  evoking ability of a work speaks very well about itself and better about  the artist it was created by.

Watercolour Box’ Oil on panel, 53.5 x 140 cm

Banegas continues to work on a number of  different series at a time, the ‘Shavings’ series being one of the most  popular, the colours in these paintings are tributes to the materials  he has been using throughout his life. They also refer to things that  are used by human hands, the shavings themselves are also a tribute to  Banegas’ father´s profession, and the things he learnt from watching him  work. He paints the tools he uses to create his work as well as the  residue left from the process, revealing the human activity which has  been going on behind the scenes.

Particularly in the ‘Shavings’ series,  Banegas plays around with perspective, the extremely close-up position  allows the viewer to almost only see the shape and the colour, there is  no reference to the space the pencil shavings occupy, resulting in a  hyper-realistic painting seeming like an abstract work of art.

“There are so many visions of reality as  people interpret stimuli in so many ways, and this, in the case of  painting, produces a multitude of different results, all equally valid.  There is no one reality, only our interpretation of it.”

- Javier Banegas

Shavings V’ Oil on board, 80 x 80 cm and ‘Colour Fragment’ Oil on board, 50 x 50 cm

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