Torre’s work is characterized by a persistent reflection on the relationship between photography and painting.
The photographic image has been elaborated over the years using the classic tool of oil painting not only to make a technical reproduction with a trompe l’oeil effect (as with photorealism), but also with the purpose of representing the “photographic” in more conceptual terms. Avoiding any sort of nostalgia, Torre’s work references analogue photography and classic black-and-white cinema from the 1960s in an attempt to draw a connection to contemporary imagery. By acknowledging photographic sequences, contact sheets, and photographic portraits, while rendering highly accurate representations of analog cameras, Torre’s paintings invert relationships between the observer and one who is observed.
“A Contemporary Glance” includes selections from three series: Hasselblad, Double Portraits and Young Men. Here the observer is involved in a play of glances, including first the mechanical eye of the cameras. The Hasselblads aim their fixed and ostensibly objective glances, but despite being machines, as Torre represents them in large scale, they seem to possess a kind of tactile and physical presence. Next, in the Double Portraits the human subjects are painted larger than life in black suits on white backgrounds imbuing them with a strong sculptural effect. The same sitter represented twice with minimal temporal or formal gaps is meant to invoke a kind of three-person dialogue with the viewer, establishing an intimate environment (often with erotic overtones). Lastly, the small portraits comprising the series Young Men depict some of the artist’s personal friends caught with intense expressions portrayed with minimal but extremely direct representation.