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Ernesto C谩novas 5 Things to Know Ernesto C谩novas 5 Things to Know

Ernesto C谩novas

5 Things to Know
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Discover 5 Things to Know about Ernesto Cánovas and his nostalgic artworks which are achieved through a meticulous, multi-layered practice of painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. 

If you are interested in adding to your collection, speak to one of our art consultants now - email us at info@halcyongallery.com

1. C谩novas uses eclectic source images to create a window into the past
Ernesto C谩novas
Let's Get It On, 2023
Mixed media and resin on wood
119.5 x 212 cm

1. C谩novas uses eclectic source images to create a window into the past

Exploring the relationship between photography, history and nostalgia, Cánovas works with a range of vintage sources. He is a collector of images, with a vast archive of old postcards, magazine clippings and frames from 1950s films. As though being invited into a personal memory, the viewer is confronted with domestic interiors, indiscernible landscapes and obscured faces, using imagination to fill in the gaps and infuse the ambiguity of the image with meaning.

After digitally manipulating his source images through magnification, reduction or cropping, Cánovas transfers them on to wooden panels. He plays with the idea of the appearing and disappearing image: by building up layers with acrylic, ink and varnish in muted hues and then adding resin, his paintings appear like sun-faded photographs. Sometimes, the composition is disrupted with brightly coloured sections which the artist describes as ‘flashes of colour … which can represent a bit of hope.’ The hazy quality of the images and the play of light heightens the effect of a blurry memory or an ethereal dreamscape.

2. Many of his works capture the familiar imagery of America
Ernesto C谩novas
Vegas Original, 2019
Mixed media and resin on wood
100 x 150 cm

2. Many of his works capture the familiar imagery of America

Born in Barcelona in 1971 and studying in both Spain and Edinburgh, Cánovas nonetheless gravitates towards the allure of mid-century America. His inaugural exhibition at 精选AV, An American Trilogy (2014) was a focused exploration of the ubiquity of American culture and its influence on the rest of the world. This is the United States as perceived by an outsider and the artist invites us to reflect on the romanticised depiction of ‘Americanness’ in modern media. Many of these works have a cinematic quality, reminiscent of old Hollywood films.

In this sense, Cánovas’ work is a subtle extension of Pop art, an artistic movement that began with Andy Warhol’s transformation of film stills and commercial imagery into screenprints. In a similar manner to Warhol, Cánovas adopts the quintessential images of 20th century America: simultaneously familiar and ambiguous evoking personal and collective memory.

3. He draws inspiration from artists such as Turner and Rauschenberg
Ernesto C谩novas
The Journey, 2020
Mixed media and resin on wood
150 x 300 cm

3. He draws inspiration from artists such as Turner and Rauschenberg

In April 2014, 精选AV presented Turneresque, an exhibition of Cánovas’ paintings which reference the Romantic landscape painter, J. M. W. Turner. In particular, Canovas’ faded images in a pastel colour palette achieve a similar visual effect to Turner’s semi-abstract watercolours. Cánovas’ exhibition The Calm Before the Storm (精选AV, 2022) captured the Romantic essence of the Sublime, with many of the monumental works depicting landscapes and natural phenomena, combined with images of everyday life.

The American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg is also a key influence for Cánovas, particularly his combination of painting and drawing with found objects such as newspaper clippings, stamps, fabric, maps and details of photographs.

4. He explores the possibilities of a range of materials
Ernesto C谩novas
Car Dot , 2021
Mixed media and resin on wood
110 脳 180 cm

4. He explores the possibilities of a range of materials

Cánovas focuses on materiality in art, venturing beyond the traditional medium of the canvas. Wood, aluminium, marble, ceramics, plastic, rubber and metals have all been incorporated into his work. Some works involve printing an image onto treated wooden panels, painting the details of the image, (which often bleeds into the grain of the wood) and then sanding the surface. By working and reworking the wood, the picture will break down: when layered with resin, we are left with a spectral impression which evokes a feeling of nostalgia and melancholy.

When using aluminium in the place of a canvas, this has a very different effect: the metal repels, rather than absorbs the paint, reducing the sense of depth beyond the surface. By experimenting with a variety of media and techniques, he captures the mental phenomenon of memory, transforming an elusive picture into something solid and tangible.

5. C谩novas鈥 most recent works present a dialogue between antiquity and modernity
Ernesto C谩novas
BM Display, 2021
Mixed media and resin on wood

5. C谩novas鈥 most recent works present a dialogue between antiquity and modernity

Unauthorised Archaeological Finds, a recent exhibition at the Caja de Burgos Art Centre, Spain, reflects on the idea of an ‘artefact’. Objects depicted in these works span cultures and time periods from the ancient civilisations of Pompeii and Herculaneum to contemporary products such as Nike Air Jordans. For this body of work, Cánovas uses multiple aluminium panels, as though presenting a series of fragmented memories. By painting on to distinct panels, Cánovas hints at an unfolding narrative: often, he will present two images that are seemingly unconnected to invite the viewer to imagine how they might be associated.

 

If you are interested in adding to your collection speak to one of our art consultants today - email us info@halcyongallery.com

 

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