Over a week ago on April 14th â€” which also happened to be the day the Creep Machine turned 5 years old â€” Sergio Lopez opened a solo show entitled Sacred Spring at the Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco. I had seen Lopez’s work online a few times, but I knew these paintings needed to be seen in person. Sergio did have some work on view at the Safehouse Atelier here in SF, but I just happened to miss the one night event. The amazing thing about this solo show, is that every available wall space in the gallery was filled with Sergio’s work. Normally, the main portion of the gallery is one show, while the inner area next to the fireplace has a smaller selection of works from various artists. The inner portion of the gallery had these small paintings by Sergio, as well as a couple that were different in style that the rest of the show. The bulk of the work was figurative, but also had elements of nature infused in them, either with patterns or the model was posed in a an outdoor setting. Sergio was present for the reception, so I was able to talk with a bit about his working process. Read more for the rest of the images and review.
The larger paintings in the gallery were oils on canvas, that was then attached to wood panel. Sergio stated that he enjoys the texture of canvas, but prefers the sturdiness that panel offers. A series of photos were first taken with the model, I’m told somewhere in the North Bay, and then each image was then transferred to the canvas and then painted. One of the things that really struck me, was not only were these painting vibrant in color, but the way that he handles paint is just as exciting. As the layers are built up you can the paint get thicker, and in certain highlighted areas the brush-marks were somewhat impasto. These beautiful little details are always lost in photos. We talked a bit about acrylics, which he has used, but prefers oils. There is just something about the way oils look, and when the subject matter is figurative, I think oils can add a little extra to the entire experience of viewing.
Sacred Spring is Sergio’s second solo exhibition at Modern Eden, and I am already looking forward to his next one. The idea that more classical styles of figurative art is growing, is very exciting indeed. I love pop/dark/and surreal art, but it is figurative art that really drew me into art during the beginning of my studies. It was a mixture of not only the skill level that classical artists achieved in order to render the human form, but the instant connection I feel we have when we view a painted figure. The topic of nudity in art I see also springs up a lot in conversations, and it reminds me of a book by Kenneth Clark entitled The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, in which Clark makes the distinction between “naked” and “nude”. This is something I think many viewers overlook, the idea that “naked” implies be removed of clothing, vulnerable, and even embarrassed whereas being “nude” creates an image in the viewers mind “not of a huddled and defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body: the body re-formed.”
If you haven’t seen this show in person, it will be on view until May 4th, otherwise the full show is now posted on the galleries snazzy new website. Sacred Spring @ Modern Eden