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Santiago Parra

Santiago Parra: A Covid Exhibition

Artist of the moment, Santiago Parra, was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1986. He studied Literature at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, followed by an art education at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá and later at the Academy of Art University to study Fine Arts in San Francisco where he also learnt about Motion Pictures and Television.

Parra is known for his large, abstract and highly expressive black and white paintings. His canvases capture the suspended flatness of the calligraphy-like imagery, harmonising two seemingly incompatible aesthetic moments, spontaneity and pondering, which are all shaped by movement, strength, gravity and skill of the Columbian artist’s creative process. 

He explores the expressive possibilities of the quintessential abstract form. With an audacious manner he redefines abstract structures with bold sculptural brushstrokes. His work is both an aesthetic exploration and a questioning of the essence of abstract image making.

This week, London’s JD Malat Gallery presents Upheaval, a solo exhibition by the Colombian artist. Consisting of fourteen paintings created in a span of six months whilst in lockdown. These paintings were produced during the Covid-19 lockdowns, a time of intense emotional tension for the artist.

Through his painterly process, Parra yearns to express himself in the freest possible way. His goal is to create the conditions where only the unconscious is responsible for the outcome on the canvas. Isolation during the pandemic helped the artist reach his ideal aesthetic due to the new and unknown emotions he experienced. The result is a true ‘upheaval’, indeed a powerful and dramatic display of raw emotion.

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