ENG TEXT 20th century (Bodegon)
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Manuel Garcia
Juan Barbera Twentieth Century Still Lifes

Just when it seems as if twentieth-century painting has forever abandoned the great genres of art history a series of young artists appear on the scene who, from their art education, knowledge gained in museums or independent reflections in their studios, discover old themes ¬Ė the still life, the landscape, the portrait ¬Ė and, in a variety of ways, update old art college schematics, rejuvenating them with a patina of modernity. Seen from such a perspective we can surely better understand the contemporary passion of young artists for the poetics of the body, the evocation of landscape and even for the allure of a Hispanic eighteenth century genre such as the still life. Among the young painters who cultivate these old genres is the painter J. J. Barber√°, to be found on the Mediterranean art scene. Valencian by birth, Mediterranean by education, European by vocation, J. J. Barber√° was trained at the San Carlos Academy of Art. Newly returned from completing military service for his country he felt himself lost for a time in Madrid, a place hard for survival and against his sensibilities. He then returned to Valencia to paint, set up a studio and start work as a teacher at the Faculty of Fine Arts, where he has produced from a rather outsider¬ís position one of the most thought-provoking bodies of work to appear in the Valencian Community in recent years. Thought-provoking because of the themes that it tackles, his way of solving these themes and the expressive, bold manner in which he expands upon them. A draughtsman of great ability and an artist with a solid academic training, J. J. Barber√° now returns with a one-man show, the result of several years of work where, far from the clamour for strident colours, the fashionable female figure and the posturings of daily life, he has focussed on a theme of particular satisfaction for the artist: the Mediterranean still life. The Mediterraneanness that some of us recognise in J. J. Barber√°¬ís work is justified, from our understanding of it, by the warmth of his themes, his chosen range of colours and the expressivity of his style. It would also be justified by the distinctive nature of his physical being, the extrovert nature of his personality and his sensuality. In a way, he belongs to that group of Valencian artists who themselves embody part of the artistic discourse of their pictorial work. According to our understanding, the series of still lifes that Barber√° has prepared for his one-man exhibition at the Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Zaragoza, Arag√≥n y la Rioja de Valencia is situated within this line of aesthetic choice. Still lifes that, even when one takes the concept of the genre in European Cubism as a point of reference (above all Pablo Ruiz Picasso), clearly move away from the recognisable schematics of the still life - from those painted in the eighteenth century (Luis Mel√©ndez) as much as from those painted at the beginning of Cubism (Juan Gris). In our view, three aspects stand out in J. J. Barber√°¬ís still lifes: - a synthesis of the representative elements (tables, glasses, cups, bottles, knives, etc.) to which he makes an allusion. - the use of tenuous colours (ochres, greens, browns) which he occasionally strengthens with very Mediterranean blues.
>>>  Diccionary of artists from Valencia
        in the 20th century
>>>  Juan Manuel Bonet,
        Between Tradition and modern age
>>>  Juan Vicente Valiago,
>>>  Juan Manuel Garcia ,
        Still-Life at the the end of the last century
>>>  Carles Marco,
>>>  Juan Barbera,
        Una etapa germinal
>>>  Biography
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