Andrew Salgado’s paintings have evolved greatly in style since first rising to prominence over half a decade ago. While his signature large-scale portraits have given way to more abstracted, complex, and narrative-heavy paintings, the focus on The Figure remains a common thread. Today, Salgado’s subjects are depicted in a fantastical, often ominous tableaux: harlequin-like figures, wisps of mysterious smoke, low-hanging moons, and the remnants from a Bohemian celebration are current motifs.
There are references to the tradition of figurative painting both historic and contemporary: Matisse, Gauguin, and Bacon are all readily recalled; while contemporary greats like Tal R, Daniel Richter, and Peter Doig are also referenced – often occurring like quiet in-jokes for a viewer. Salgado’s most recent works reference the very act of painting with the artist’s wry sense of humor and self-awareness; and faces are often painted as clown-like, with brightly colored noses and vibrantly hair.
Salgado enjoys playing with ideas of excess, color, and off-kilter compositions. His more recent works are less serious – or certainly more irreverent – than his previous offerings. They are more celebratory, even theatrical – a sensibility that he carries into his exhibitions, too. ‘The Snake’ (BEERS London, 2016), Salgado released 500 butterflies into an unsuspecting audience during the opening; ‘A Room with a View of the Ocean’ (Lauba House, 2017) culminated with an 8-metre ocean projection (and artificial ‘beach’); and the two-day exhibition ‘Nature Boy’ (BEERS London, 2018) featured a pianist at a baby-grand playing the eponymous song on repeat for the show’s duration.