“Painting is the urge to express your vision of reality.”
The Spanish artist Antonio Fuertes (1970) studied at the ‘Facultad de Bellas Artes’ of the University of Madrid. In his final year he received a scholarship for the ‘Hogeschool voor de Kunsten’ in Utrecht, the Netherlands. After his graduation in 1994, Fuertes decided to stay in the Netherlands and started living in Amsterdam, where he also has his studio.
Light is central to Fuertes’ work: ‘I often imagine my paintings as a theatre stage. The light is given the role of director, determining what will happen on stage and what the actors will do, thus bringing the canvas to life.
‘The painter introduces to the stage familiar elements of classical still lifes, especially fruit: ‘During my youth in Andalusia fruit was everywhere: oranges, lemons, figs, mandarins, pears and so on. My father had a ‘huerta’, a kind of orchard that produced the finest and most delicious fruit. For me it was a kind of paradise.
‘The passion with which Fuertes paints fruit is striking. His dedication allows the image of each piece of fruit on the stage to evolve into a detailed, individual portrait. With the main focus on light, the viewer witnesses a scene in which these portraits of fruit play interacting characters.
The often large size of Fuertes’ canvases and the way in which individual pieces of fruit are grouped together provide rhythm and movement to the scene, making the still life very contemporary. Fuertes’ technique is in line with that of classical master painters of the Golden Age such as Rembrandt, Velázquez and Ribera. By applying many layers of paint – at least 15 – the work is allowed to grow gradually.
Throughout all the layers of paint the contrast of light and dark serves as a starting point. For the initial layers the artist uses black and white, whereas only in the final layers he adds colour. Sometimes Fuertes even chooses to keep a tonal painting as a sensitive still life in black, white and gray tones. The multiple layers of transparent paint and relief in the paint skin provide the depth that is so characteristic of Antonio Fuertes’ still lifes.
‘Artistic Baccalaureate’ curriculum vitae
Education 1989 – 1994 : ‘Universidad Complutense’ (University of Madrid), Madrid, Spain ‘Faculty of Fine Arts’ 1993/94: ‘Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht’ (Utrecht School of the Arts) , Utrecht, The Netherlands (Erasmus Scholarship) diploma : ‘Master in Painting’ (Master Degree in Painting) 1987 – 1989 : ‘School of Applied Arts and Artistic Crafts’, Soria, Spain scholarship : Scholarship of the Junta de Castilla y León ‘(Council of Castilla and León) diploma :’Artistic Baccalaureate’