Juan Escauriaza is a self-taught artist painting full time in Madrid. His exhibition history includes seventeen plus solo shows, numerous two person and group shows and a large retrospective sponsored by the City Hall of Madrid. Juan earned a PhD in Geological Sciences and a postgraduate degree in Hydro-Geology and Paleontology. He worked as a scientist/geologist for well-known companies in Spain for ten years, but painting was his true passion and 25 years ago it called him to take the leap and commit to it. In 1994 he dedicated himself solely to painting, with extraordinary critical and commercial success.
Escauriaza frequently travels to America to paint and study the urban landscape on the East and West Coasts. He seeks out architectural matter which relate in an interesting way to the ground, water and sky around it. He searches for expansive urban wastelands, sometimes incorporating a sole figure or figures quietly taking in their environment – or perhaps they are oblivious to it. The lack of noticeable interaction with each other or their surroundings represents a sort of lone-ranger-on-a-spiritual quest notion.
Juan strives for compelling compositions using people, buildings, trees and manmade objects to create the forms and angles he is looking for. The perspective is often unusual and from a befuddling vantage point. His palette is typically representative of the greys and beiges of concrete set off by a clear blue sky and an occasional shock of red or green, represented by manmade objects like fire hydrants and signs. His incredible control of acrylic paint on linen offers a narrow view of a much larger scene, eliminating the chaos and chatter of a wide angle view. What he sees is perhaps what many of us miss, rewarding the viewer with the serenity and simplicity of form and a moment captured in time.
“The main theme of my paintings is the mystery that lies hidden within the city. The banality reveals mystery, calm, silence and void underneath the sunlight. One may consider the city as humankind’s most important creation – created by people for their own benefit and designed to serve them. However, as it is built, the city itself gains autonomy and power, to the point where it starts altering and changing human habits and behavior. Whereas architecture may last and stay intact for centuries, humans are merely transitory, short-lived creatures – and their individual impermanence intensifies the city’s own presence.
In my artwork one can easily recognize what is being depicted, but in fact, if I have any intention at all, it would be to try and unite the real and metaphysical worlds.
There are stills in films that are real works of art. I am still under the American obsession; I love German director Wim Wenders’ (Paris Texas) work. No one has been able to reflect the American landscape like he has.”