Frank Auerbach Head of J.Y.M. II
Adolph Menzel Der fuss des Kuenstlers
I first encountered Paolo Arao's compelling charcoal drawings - of unmanned groups of microphones - reproduced in Harper's Magazine, in 2005. They struck me immediately because of the similarities between what they represented and what I was working on at the time. I had undertaken producing a series of paintings of surveillance cameras, so I was interested in technological devices as 'stand-ins'; reductive metaphors for people and their activities.
Arao's phalanx formations of clustered mics patiently await speeches and press conferences.
Is a messenger going to mount the podium and deliver an important, stirring oration? Or has the public address already been broadcast to the dispersing crowd?
Impeccably rendered compositions, these drawings continue to fill me with wonder, evoking powerful feelings of anticipation.
Below examples of Paolo Arao's images are a selection of paintings by Glenn Brown, a British painter who was a contender for the Turner Prize in 2000. His gooey, sumptuous portraits recall the (seemingly) unbridled paint handling of Frank Auerbach. These works also reference 'painter heroes' like Franz Hals, Rembrandt, Adolph Menzel, and Howard Hodgkin.
What's nifty about Brown's impasto bravura is that all the apparently thick paint is an illusion.
The brush marks are trompe l'oeil.