(Spanish, b. 1941)
Like Florence in the Renaissance, and Paris and New York more recently, Catalonia has been a very fertile ground for artistic creation. Gaudi, Dalí, Picasso, Miró, and Tàpies are among its most celebrated artists. The latest among them, born in Barcelona and still living there, is Eduardo Arranz-Bravo. With all these Catalonian artists, Bravo shares a passionate desire to paint, a visceral creativity, and outstanding technical skills. His art, like theirs, is unique, inventive, challenging, and in constant evolution. “Life is like a river,” Bravo tells us, “it is something you can live from. A river can never live with the water of twenty years ago, now it is living with the present water. I think I am like a river. Nobody can stop this river.”
Bravo was born in 1941. During a trip to Paris in 1958, 17-year old Bravo’s painting departed from his conventional artistic training – he began to tirelessly churn out radically abstract works. During this time he drew inspiration from the Spanish physicist, Miguel Masriera, who encouraged him to continue his painting. Motivated by his travels in Paris and Italy, in 1959 he enrolled in the Escuela Superior de Bella Artes de San Jorge, in Barcelona. In 1967, Bravo drastically changed his painting style, beginning a trend the critics have called “new figuration,” a term he detests. Bravo’s work has continued to grow and evolve throughout his career. However, he does not believe in explaining his art; he believes in selective perception and prefers that each viewer draw his or her own conclusions when interpreting his paintings.
Whimsical and bizarre, powerful and vulnerable, the figures in Arranz-Bravo’s paintings inhabit a strange universe. Often they appear to be made, not of flesh and blood, but of stone or some indescribable material. Arranz-Bravo penetrates the exteriors of his figures, at times literally boring into the inner mechanisms of their physiognomies: capillaries, organs and marrow are exposed. In so doing, he lays bare not only their subconscious minds, but often their very souls as well.
~Tomlyn Barnes, New York-based art historian