Spanish artist Alfredo Roldán was born in 1965. Self- taught, with no formal training, and determined to be an artist, he initially sold his work in street markets. By the mid 1990s, after winning several competitions, he came to the notice of art galleries in Europe and America, notably The Albemarle Gallery in London. Its new incarnation, Pontone Gallery, is proud to present his latest exhibition.
Roldán’s Madrid studio is the heart of his practice. It is not a solitary, exclusive space, but a stage set for human interaction, which allows his models to feel at ease in a comfortable interior. Figures are engaged in the rituals of relaxation, surrounded by the paraphernalia of the table: pots, bottles, vases, flowers and fruit. His compositions evoke a state of pause and tranquility, sustained by simple and everyday pleasures.
The paintings are sophisticated exercises in sumptuous colour and subtle tonalities. Rich passages of reds, blues and greens are played off against muted, earthy shades and ochre flesh tints. The flattened perspectives, fractured surfaces and graphic stylisations reference the cubism of Picasso and Juan Gris. There are echoes of Modigliani in the treatment of his female subjects and we can detect a homage to his ‘heroes’, Gaugin and Matisse, in his joyful and sensuous manipulation of colour.
His female subjects are inscrutable, their mask-like faces evoking the Cyladic geometries of ancient goddesses. Their eyes are empty, lacking pupils, heightening a sense of otherness and archaic, mysterious attachments. These enigmatic figures express a theatricality of self- presentation, which is deliberately seductive in its subtle evasion.
Roldán’s paintings bask in the heat of Mediterranean sunshine and its associations of carefree delight. He makes a world of visual harmony. His is a sincere appreciation of the simple pleasures of the senses, which he asserts in a suitably stripped-down and shadowless painting language. The surface alone can be profound.