Juan Suárez has moved through many markedly distinct territories in his painting, but there are certain features and referents that have remained unchanged over a career spanning nearly thirty years. Despite his fidelity to abstraction, one of the mainstays of his work is a certain figurative formulation, which appropriates simple geometric motifs and elementary figures. The background of his paintings connects with the cosmopolitan, high culture, religious feeling and iconography, the bullfighting tradition of Andalusia, and the cultural splendour of Seville, the city where he lives. This rich cultural and imaginative source material has also been a distinctive feature in the work of fellow artists whose careers have run in parallel to his own. Breakfast at Cairo is a work from the second stage of his career. The first seems to have been governed by a mathematical geometrism and the dissolution of the impasto in the medium of the canvas, which is extended into a nuanced chromaticism. In contrast, in the second period—as one can observe in a photo of the artist at work in his studio—Suárez increases the density of the textures and colour tones, which, despite everything, appear dark and gloomy, though fractured suddenly by a burst of red or a flash of vivid blue. The painter’s gesture appears to have left its imprint and stria in paint rubbed over the canvas. Moreover—acting not always in a premeditated way, but led by chance—Suárez often multiplies the panels that compose a particular work. According to Kevin Power, ‘this further highlights, if possible, their brutal interaction.’ This piece was painted between 1983 and 1987, a particularly fertile period for the artist, when his concerns, as the titles of his works suggest, revolved around style (reflected in ‘Serie gótica’), the theatrical (La lámpara del teatro), and, as always, a sacred intimacy that evokes the religious (Entre el resplandor de los santos and In ictu oculi).
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