Ricardo Cony Etchart
Ricardo Cony Etchart was born to be an artist, but a law degree, accounting, and various other intellectual and philosophical pursuits shanghaied his early efforts. A few years ago, when the kids were less dependent on him and his career was at cruising altitude, he set up shop on the 7th floor of his Buenos Aires apartment and began to put some serious paint down. With a famous Argentinean artist guiding him, he started painting Vermeer style portraits in oil. Ricardo is a perfectionist, and these took him several months each to complete. His early success and natural ability might have led many of us down the road of portraiture, or, at least, realism; however, his incredibly strong sense of color, design, and composition combined with his fascination for people and the human condition led him down an entirely different path. As a native Argentinean, he was deeply influenced by the primitive art of non-Western civilizations – South America, Mexico, and Native America. A quick glance might make one think of pop-art, but there is much more to these pieces than quick, gimmicky images.
Take away the Surrealism and leave the simplicity of the figures and Ricardo’s work is reminiscent of the bone structure of some of Victor Brauner’s work – who was also influenced by the same cultures. He is fascinated by colorful, eccentric men and women – perhaps on sanity’s edge. He is drawn to the lack of inhibition and free expression; and, in response to this, Ricardo uses color without restraint. The work is bold, bright and filled with symbolism. He thinks and draws for hours before he starts to paint, so once he is clear in his mind about where he is going, the paintings have already emerged. In this particular grouping, Locos, it is difficult to tell if some of the colors are foreground or background, making us question the sometimes blurry line between sanity vs. insanity.
Ricardo Etchart embraces a subject, and continues to paint it until he thoroughly exhausts his obsession. He fearlessly thrives on change, growth, and evolution. By the end of his career, identifying one of his paintings might be tricky, which makes following him even more exciting. He is energetic and bright; his mind moves and darts from one thing to the next, but he is taking in his surroundings with every sense. His artwork is the manifestation of the constant digestion of this information and observation, and he is working feverishly to keep up with it.