Over the course of his thirty-year career as an artist, Juan Suárez has taken his painting into well-differentiated territories while maintaining certain key elements and referents unchanged. His faithfulness to abstraction has not prevented him from making a certain figurative formulation, which appropriates simple geometric motifs and basic figures, one of his central elements. Underlying his paintings is a link to cosmopolitanism, high culture, religious sentiment and iconography, the Andalusian bullfighting tradition, and the cultural sumptuousness of Seville, the city where he lives. The work of his contemporaries drinks from the same cultural wellspring and collective imagination. Breakfast at Cairo belongs, so to speak, to the second stage of his career. The first seems governed by a mathematical geometry and the dissolving of the paint paste into the canvas, extending into a nuanced use of colour. In this second period, however—as can be seen in a photograph of him painting in his studio—Suárez increases the density of the textures and chromaticity. In spite of this, the colours appear darkened and shadowed, broken suddenly by a flash of red or a burst of bright blue. It is as though the paint were rubbed into the canvas, leaving the trace and furrow of the artist’s gesture. Furthermore, he multiplies the number of panels making up each individual work—not always premeditatedly, but carried along by chance—“which, if anything,” as Kevin Power said, “heightens their brutal interaction even more”. This piece was painted between 1983 and 1987 at a particularly prolific point in time for the artist, when his concerns, as the titles indicate, refer us to style—’Serie gótica’—to the stage—La lámpara del teatro—and, as always, to a sacred intimacy that evokes religion: Entre el resplandor de los santos, and In ictu oculi.
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