I apologise for my lack of posts recently but life has become extremely busy at the moment and I just can’t seem to find the time to sit down long enough to write. However, I did manage to take a trip to Oxford on Saturday, which unfortunately was rather damp due to the horrendous weather, and whilst walking past Black Sheep Galleries I spotted they had a Fabian Perez exhibition on, so immediately went in.
I first saw some of his work at an Ideal Home Exhibition about 8 years ago and fell in love with his style immediately. If you’ve ever seen and loved Jack Vettriano’s sleazier paintings, i.e. not the mass produced Mad Dogs or The Singing Butler, then you’re bound to love Fabian Perez. Many of his figurative compositions are based in seedy clubs and brothels (of which his father owned three) and each one features a single person or, more rarely, a couple, of which are either the prostitute or the customer. Yet, there is nothing sinister or upsetting in his images but rather an acute sense of loneliness, longing and intimacy. Or in his words “I am constantly fighting for a more romantic world, one where the woman and the man have defined roles and power isn’t always the goal.”
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, each painting has a strong influence of Perez’s home country and you can really feel the heat and passion that exudes from every image. He is renowned for his flamenco and tango studies but, after spending a year in Japan, he has also introduced Geisha style females to his collections. However, my favourites have always been the 1940s style brothel images which are dark, smokey, full of emotion and make you feel like you’re taking a sneaky glimpse into their world from behind a heavy velvet curtain.
Fabian Perez has being doing tours of British galleries for a few years now and I saw one of his exhibitions in Newbury, Berkshire two years ago. There is always one or two original paintings on offer but most that are on show are limited edition prints, each one mounted in his trademark heavy, and slightly aged, black frame. Below I have put together of a few of my favourites from the ones I saw in Oxford.
This is the one I have begged my Dad to buy me for Christmas as it reminds me of James Stewart. Not sure I’ll get it though!
The Performers Break
This was my favourite female, who was sadly tucked around a corner and I’m sure most people would miss her. I love her sultry, and almost accusing, eyes.
Man in Black Suit
Perez often features umbrellas or parasols in his work and I particularly loved the contrast of the bright red against the darker areas in this one.
The Embrace II
I’m not as keen on the couple groupings in his work but this one really caught my eye. It feels like there’s a real story behind it, either that they are saying their last goodbye or they have come together having not seen each other for quite some time.
Man Lighting Cigarette
If you fancy meeting Fabian Perez in person he is currently touring some of the galleries in the UK. Unfortunately I missed him by two days but hopefully I will get the honour of meeting him one day. Even if you can’t make it on any of these dates, each gallery will have a small collection of his work for you to view.