At 34, Andrew Salgado is the youngest person to have a solo exhibition at The Canada Gallery at the Canadian High Commission in London, Who is this new protégé who has already had 11 sell-out exhibitions around the world?
Artist Andrew Salgado Retrospective in London
Trafalgar Square really does have a lot to offer us from a cultural perspective. The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, the Fourth Plinth (sometimes), the theatres, the throngs of rambunctious Italian students strangely obsessed with feeding the pigeons. It’s all there and now the area has gone one better, or rather Canada’s High Commission has. It is showing the work of 34-year-old figurative artist Andrew Salgado who creates really interesting paintings. Being ‘Interesting’ in art has become something of a dirty word. It suggests the flexing of an emotional range that may or may not please you. You may just not ‘get it’ or even worse, you may not like it.
Salgado paints mostly large scale portraits, although he doesn’t like to use that word. That in itself may sound pretentious, but the artist – who has only been at this career for a decade (hence the name of the exhibition and accompanying book TEN) – is more concerned with telling a story rather than immortalising his sitter. His technique borrows from oil traditions but then he lets rip with splashes, motifs, lines, abstract shapes and buckets of colour. He collages, stitches and hand-dyes too. Faces can be as eerie and disturbing as they are beautiful and beguiling, as if Salgado is at once angry, frustrated and intrigued about the complexity of the human condition. Interesting right? There’s more too…
Salgado has his own story to tell via his artwork which comes across in his self-portraits especially. A victim of a homophobic hate crime in 2008, the artist has always flipped vulnerability into an intelligent and witty kind of vengeance. His famous self-portrait Bloody Faggot (started in 2008 and completed in 2011) is a case in point. Staring back at us the artist’s toothless expression is disarming, unsettling and in many ways grotesque. It’s not meant to be shocking or self-indulgent; it’s supposed to make you shudder a bit. So he wins.
Whether or not you’d want his work on your wall is beside the point; this exhibition will pique your interest and make you think. That is really all that good art needs to do.
About the artist Andrew Salgado
Born in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Salgado studied at the University of Columbia before completing a Masters at Chelsea College of Art in London in 2009. He has had no less than 11 sell-out exhibitions and has exhibited in galleries and art fairs all over the world (every piece from his booth at PULSE Miami Beach 2015 sold out on the fair’s opening day). He is the youngest artist to have been selected by the Canadian High Commission. The exhibition runs 28 February 2017. Canadian High Commission, Canada House, Trafalgar Square. www.canadainternational.gc.ca
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