One of Canada’s best young artists, Andrew Salgado’s portraits are layered and full of images that deconstructs and reconstructs the identity of his portraits. In one of his early pictures, “Schismatics” from 2006, the sitter is breaking down into pixels all over his face except his eyes, and it is the eyes of Andrew Salgado’s portraits which draw the viewer in to see the inner soul, in particular in “Fin de Siecle”, even though the paintings are covered in symbols, cartoons, collage, text and, in his recent works, hand-stitched canvases, providing a narrative as to the life of the sitter, much as classical artists often added items relating to the occupation or family of the subject of their portraits. Selgado does it with much greater energy and abstraction, always with those eyes drawing in the viewer - in Afterlife/Osiris (2016), the Eye of Osiris even links through the hand to the covered eye of the face.
Andrew Salgado is a master story-teller. His powerful self-portrait “When I Grow Up” (2015) included in “The Fantasy of Representation” which he curated in 2015 at BEERS London, is eclipsed here with the massive “20 years” (2014) which is the centrepiece of the exhibition “Andrew Salgado: TEN” at the Canada Gallery in London where the artist is surrounded by symbols of his life – paintbrushes, tubes of paint, the maple leaf of Canada which fades away so that it could also be an architectural section of an art gallery, and much much more. Curated by David Liss of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, TEN shows a selection of work over the last decade and coincides with the publication of Salgado’s first monograph.
Given that he is only 35 years old, this could be the first of many……
“I feel that if you’re working with the figure, you’re always dealing with identity. There’s simply no escaping that reality. Often people ask me why I don’t do more self portraits, but since the entire process of painting is quite self-indulgent, solipsistic even, I feel like the self-portraits need to come sporadically, and only when I have something to say particularly about myself. I recently completed one called When I Grow Up which was the last work for my current series but brought in so many new ideas about painting that it really feels like an open door.” (Andrew Salgado)