Exhibition

Juan Cossio

8 May 2008 – 31 May 2008

Albemarle Gallery

London, United Kingdom

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About

Juan Cossio uses an airbrush as his principal working tool to build up these beautifully detailed paintings. In doing so, he has taken an instrument originally designed to simply retouch photographs and instead utilises it in order to recreate a photographic image in its entirety. Cossio masterfully arranges each of his compositions in order to poetically communicate a visual message to the viewer. For example, in ‘El Alma en Desacuerdo' a rope spirals and swirls around a woman's naked body, powerfully evoking the double-helix DNA shape which forms the foundation of human life — the rope disappears heaven bound, whilst the woman can only stretch her arms hopefully and hopelessly in that direction. Similarly, in ‘Rumor de lo que fue' a tree branch perfectly mirrors the shape of the woman's body as she reclines on the floor, its brittle shape both echoing and contrasting with the beauty of her natural form. The characters in these works are often dressed in white robes and placed in functional, minimalistic interiors. This leaves each of Cossio's paintings devoid of a context in time or place and means that it is the women's facial expressions and the placement of their bodies which primarily do the talking in these pieces, rather than the clothes they wear or the spaces they inhabit. It often seems as though Cossio has taken as a starting point a classical composition from one of the Old Masters and transported the arrangement into another dimension, taking the original from its specific context and leaving us with an expertly depicted arrangement of figures in empty space. Thus, compositions such as ‘El Descenso' and ‘La Voccacion' are strongly reminiscent of those found in Caravaggio and Velasquez, yet both paintings nevertheless succeed in being resolutely contemporary despite their obvious classical influences. Juan Cossio was born in Madrid in 1960. He studied Art and History at the city's University Complutense and between 1980 and 1985 he worked as a Copyist at the Museo del Prado. From 1986 Cossio was a student of Manuel Franquelo, one of Spain's leading hyper-realist painters. Juan Cossio currently lives and works in Madrid.

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