In the most basic sense, I paint portraits. Contemporary representations inspired by master works of the past.
With these pieces, I wanted to explore a kind of omnipresent pressure I think we all live under; One that grows out of the clash between humanity—our unique mess of emotions, obsessions and urges—and society’s prescription for success.
I’ve always been fascinated by the mess.
The new visuals are a nod to the modern art aesthetic. Subtle shifts, repetition, (re)placement, or absence of facial features are attempts to create a feeling of dissonance and pressure in the viewer. I want someone to be drawn in by the uncanny nature of a piece and still feel safe to explore the feelings and reactions the pressure gives rise to.
A Southern California native, Emilio Villalba received his BFA from the Art Institute of California in 2006, and his MFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University in 2011. He currently lives and works in San Francisco and is represented by Modern Eden Gallery.
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