PAINTINGS AS APPARITION
The paintings of INFANTE are apparitions: unexpected visual moments, almost lightning quick, yet destined to remainwithout dissipating.
The vision of each artwork is like ghosty encounter, able of addicting all our senses and flattering and disorienting us at the same time. Suddenly, the vision blurs, the breathing slows down, the noises all around attenuate. We remain – as spectators – suspended exactly as the figures that animate those canvases appear to us.
The subjects we see seem to attract us to come closer to them and, at the same time, move away from us in the mystery of the smoky atmosphere that surrounds them. A solitary atmosphere, with strongly dreamlike traits and colors, where there are no other creatures. Despite this, they never really appear lost, since they act as a visual fulcrum in the space and time of the canvas: they do not wander in the undefined and indeed they are perfectly protagonists and present. These new works amaze us for their powerful presence of frequent geometric elements, which on one hand are useful for the vision – ordering metaphysical space, rooting the subjects and giving coordinates to our gaze – and on the other hand to spirituality, allowing our feeling of observers to open wide and pour into the work free from further suggestions. The geometries traced on the canvas are full of symbolic references and are able to elevate the vision to a dreamy level without making it heavy with excessive references to rationality. The scene is dominated by the circle, a symbol that conveys security and centrality and that wants to represent the primordial state of matter, impalpable and uniform. It is the symbol of life, of homogeneity, of the absence of division and distinction, extremely connected to holiness, where the circumference is itself a sacred place where material and spiritual energies are assembled.
For modern psychological thought, the circle symbolizes the Self and the totality of the psyche: by his nature the human being needs to close forms, to seek and know the limits of things. The perception he has of the world is of something that has a beginning and an end, a complete form. Finally, the circle is a symbol of that Cyclic Time, infinite and universal, in which these imperturbable figures seem to live without stopping.
Everything in nature recalls the symbolism of the circle: from the atom to the planets. It is a celestial form, belonging to the planets, the moon and the stars.
And also these floating figures are lunar. Behind them it seems as is there are lighting gates to new dimensions – or perhaps open to a new awareness of that Self just mentioned.
The natural and urban landscapes that occasionally emerge on the canvas also seem to belong to another dimension. These are never inert backgrounds but they are always in harmony with the subject, with which they create an impalpable union.
They are also apparitions: they leave traces of their presence, footprints, shadows, which make their way through the layers of painting. They resemble retinal impressions that make the vision last, as if the flowers, leaves, birds, buildings and horizon were images held for a few seconds, even if they have already vanished.
Flight and wind seem to have stopped in a snapshot and yet do not lose their motive force, in works that keep a strong airy component, aesthetically and emotionally. The space in INFANTE’s canvases, although essential, is not deprived of possible trajectories and free associations, which the viewer is called to make using his own memory and imagination.
The dichotomy between the indeterminacy of the backgrounds and the precise definition of the protagonist figure is one of the keys to the charm of this artist’s painting, so nebulous but at the same time full of strongly contemporary emotional tension.
Each artwork is an invitation to self-introspection, to search for one’s inner and spiritual self, which the superficiality and urge of everyday life often fog. And it is surprising every time to remember that the unconscious introspection to which the viewer is called is the same that in the artistic and creative act gives rise to every work.
PAINTING AS A NEED
«For many years now, I have had in the back of my head a question that an Art professor asked us in class. He said: “Why do you paint?” “Why did you pick painting as your medium?” I’m not sure if I was the only one impacted to this day with that question but for one reason it became an intrinsic part of my work.»
INFANTE’s research and work clearly show how painting has always been, for him, a way to ease the deep need for expression of his inner being. A need for expression of those imagesthat have always inhabited his mind not as ghosts of the past but as powerful present creative inspirations.
«I remember as a child I spent hours – sometimes the whole day – drawing. Drawing was my world. I remember the sense of fun and absolute satisfaction when the result looked better than expected, even better than the original. I remember long inner conversations, with myself, about the images and figures that one day I would be able to paint.»
The artist’s need for self-expression becomes in the viewer a need to find himself in every work: to find familiar faces, familiar settings, moments and personal memories which perhaps have slipped away and now can come back to surface. They are all deeply intimate works but at the same time widely accessible, for the deep humanity and delicacy that they possess. They are not closed works yet open to dialogue with the viewer, since they were born primarily from an intimate need of the artist for dialogue between himself and the pictorial material.
«The layers of color, the expressive exercise of scratching and removing paint, the possibilities of creating infinite gradual combinations, the thoughts of how to use light and shadow whenever your intuition suggests it and the act, always unique, of trying to balance figurative and abstract elements have become, over the years, part of a vocabulary built in the language of painting created for the only purpose of telling the stories I had to tell.»
PAINTING AS AN ACT
FEDERICO INFANTE has developed an absolutely recognizable style, relying in his work on a personal process of creative intuition.
It all begins with an expressionist gesture, that of covering the canvas with several layers of paint, and then scratching them off. And he repeats this process several times, not planning the images in advance but remaining detached from the result.
In this way he is free to let his most intimate and unconscious part emerge. One layer of color after another, to generate an abstract material, from which a second process can then start, this time rational: the artist digs into the painting to bring out what is hidden underneath.
And as soon as reference points appear in color, known shadows, hinted silhouettes, here the Chilean artist focuses on them, portraying them with sharpness.
FEDERICO INFANTE was born in 1982 in Santiago (Chile). He studied at Finis Terrae University in Santiago and later in New York, where he graduated in the spring of 2013 with a MFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. His studies in the United States were possible not only for the painter’s strong talent, but also for the awards that, over the years, he has won and that have allowed him to continue his studies abroad; he received the Juan Downey grant (2004), the Conicyt scholarship (2009) and the Uanlane Foundation scholarship (2012).
After his first successful solo and group exhibitions in Chile, 2014 marked the official debut for the Chilean painter in the United States, with his first solo show in New York: “The Space Between”, at the prestigious Bertrand Delacroix Art Gallery in Chelsea (NYC). He immediately stood out in the US art market, thus becoming a recognized painter in the Contemporary Artistic world. Infante’s success in the US has been rapid and in 2015 he made his debut in the Italian art market with PUNTO SULL’ARTE Art Gallery. In the same year, he illustrated the Edition of “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov published by The Folio Society.
Soon he took part in art fairs in Italy and in 2016 he made his first solo show in Italy entitled “We can see the wind” at PUNTO SULL’ARTE art gallery. The show was acclaimed by art critics and it marked the beginning of a strong collaboration with PUNTO SULL’ARTE. Over the years he has had several successful solo and group exhibitions in the US, in Chile and Italy. His work has been adopted into private collections across the US, Chile, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and more. He lives and works in Richmond (Virginia – USA).