This series of new, small-scale paintings depict the artist’s fragmented memories of seemingly small moments from his youth – none of them specific to a particular place and time, but rather, portraits and landscapes of the flotsam of one’s mind. These small oil-and-acrylic paintings – the first time Ocampo- Giraldo has made such works the focus of an exhibit – are characterized by textural brushstrokes, hard shadows, and what he refers to as “a very specific sunlight.”
Ocampo-Giraldo’s memory portraits can be looked upon as composites of experiences and feelings, vivid yet with a sparing use of detail; only so much, in fact, that context is rendered moot and it is the artist’s most elemental tools – color and form – that tell each story. “I take a very objective view of my work,” says Ocampo-Giraldo. To that end, the artist adopts a playful approach to memory itself. He is visibly content with portraying each moment using a combination of shapes and color fields that populate the cerebral cortex, and allowing abstract fragments to gestate into something resembling specificity.
To properly orient his traces of memory, Ocampo-Giraldo takes care with line and balance, lending a sense of gravity to otherwise mundane subjects. While some moments are static, enfolded in time, others are in motion, but only to the extent to which the viewer grasps the elements at play – sunlight and shadow, the tides or a gust of wind, a cigarette slowly burning. There is a pensive calmness to these portraits; the subject matter is broad without being grandiose, warm without yielding to sentiment.
Esteban Ocampo-Giraldo was born in Colombia and currently resides in New York. He earned his MA from Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, and his MFA in Painting from New York Academy of Art. He has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout North America, South America, and Europe.