“When you look at my paintings from a distance, they can be very deceiving. I do…it’s so funny!” These works reflect the work of Antonio Santin, who is based in Madrid. Antonio Santin has taken the world art scene by storm, defining genres of art. The magic is in the details that adorn the surface of Santin’s canvas. What appears to be an intricately embroidered tapestry with fringe details, upon closer inspection, envelops the viewer in a composition worthy of being painted a thousand times. Antonio’s composition of oil paints mimics the texture of the weaver’s technique, transforming the stark white canvas into a feast for the eyes. A typical day in Antonio’s studio is incredibly busy. “There are always some paintings in progress that I watch evolve like little babies, and there are many decisions that need to be made. Part of my time is devoted to reading and receiving feedback, another part is working on new ideas, and finally there is the experimentation process.I work as much as I can,” he said. say.
The Persian-patterned rug design series is Antonio’s latest muse, exploring the idea of fabric opacity as a device for obscuring abstract patterns and textures. Amazingly, Antonio began his career as an artist exploring human expression, or simply figurative art. But all that was needed was a photo shoot that threw the Spanish artist into his magnum opus, the Rug series. When I looked at the bulky rug through the lens of my camera, I remember immediately noticing the powerful image: it had all the psychological tension of a person, but it was literally stripping away the body. It was sublime, dark and humorous, heavy and beautiful,” says Antonio.
This very idea turned into Santin’s signature motif. Most of his ornate works have anthropomorphic shapes eerily hidden beneath patterned carpets. Dots, spirals and brushes of oil paint Beneath the layers of his strokes are clear outlines of defined shapes, like the human body. The result is enigmatic yet captivating, intimidating yet unsettling, real yet fantastical. Antonio describes his work as “figurative paintings without figures, brilliant excuses for the invisible”. This illusion therefore blurs the boundary between painting and sculpture.
There is a continuous perceptual dialogue between light and shadow as the artist juxtaposes flat surfaces with concrete curvature. There is a visceral tension between surface and space, scale and scope that Antonio achieves with his various techniques. By deciphering labor-intensive techniques, Antonio gives us insight into what it really takes to achieve the perfect illusion. “For example, a painting resembles a relief work. In practice, oil paint is the only sculptural medium used to build the pattern. The result was dynamic and painterly.Then I started using the technique of connecting an air compressor to a special syringe containing the oil paint.In this way I created thin threads of color, It can be shaped into an array of micro-reliefs.This process is very laborious and time-consuming.The second illusion is trompe l’oeil.When the relief of the base of the painting is completed, you can use a brush in oil paint. The result is a mixture of patina and chiaroscuro.If done well, a flat painting suddenly acquires a three-dimensionality.The third illusion belongs to the collective imagination. It’s an image that I put forward, we’ve all heard that expression sweeping away what’s under the rug: what’s actually hidden is abstract, and the idea is that the beholder sees is from.”
Aside from the interesting composition, the title of Antonio’s artwork is a conversation starter in and of itself. As such, this experience of mystery and illusion extends beyond the canvas. Antonio deciphers some of the titles of his artwork and states: With that thought in mind, my title is a part of my life, like a diary, something I fix in a material way, but it’s also a simple stroke of inspiration. When I look at it, sometimes words suddenly come out, so I leave it as it is. ‘already tomorrow‘ is the classic Spanish expression for procrastination. Since moving back to Madrid in 2018, I’ve started using Spanish as my title. Feels good to be home! not my circus not my monkey It belongs to a period in my life when I was dealing with more drama than I needed. Montrose Avenue I lived there or passed by it frequently and had fond memories of it.
Mimicking embroidery techniques with oil paint, Santin’s rugs cast a sense of magic and awe in the mind of the beholder. These compositions take an average of about six months to perfect their complexity and leave an air of mystery. I can’t help but imagine lifting an embroidered rug to peer under a beautiful façade and identify the humans underneath. Listening to “Juan Luis Guerra, Hero of Silencio and Flamenco”, Antonio prepares for his upcoming exhibition in January 2023 at Gallery His Isa, Mumbai.