Andrew Salgado’s paintings have evolved greatly in style since the large-scale, painterly portraits he began painting about a decade ago, where large swathes of colour played across the surface to define his subjects. In his most recent work – the representational has given way to the more abstract. Now colourful, symbolic, and compositional elements are the driving force of the painted image, but a complex interweaving of figures remain a common thread. Today his subjects are depicted in a fantastical, often ominous tableaux, with any combination of patterns, abundance, and excess play upon the painted surface, including harlequin-like figures, the motif of a heavy, low-hanging moon; or other unrecognisable figurative shapes sift in and out of the composition, partially obscured or partially revealed. Where there once was a desire to place the figure at the forefront of the image, now there is a kind of harmonious cacophony that creates a sort of chaotically orchestrated puzzle. There are abundant references to the tradition of figurative painting both historic and contemporary: Matisse, Gauguin, and Bacon are all readily recalled; while contemporary greats like Tal R, Daniel Richter, and Peter Doig are also referenced with equal reverie and respect – often like quiet in-jokes for a viewer to catch.
In his most recent series (entitled ‘Paper-Bag Prince’), completed for Untitled Art Fair Miami with Beers London, the very act of painting with a wry sense of humor and self-awareness is readily referenced – and critiqued. There is similarly a desire to shirk autobiography for the non-sequitur and playful. And as such, the works tend to be bright, celebratory, even theatrical, with an underlying macabre or dark aspect. For Salgado, each exhibition provides an opportunity to extend elements of the painting beyond the canvas–an invitation into a world of colour, fantasy, and fun.