Emilio Villalba: Talk to Me Modern Eden Gallery 801 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133 October 14 through October 29 Opening Reception: October 14, 2016 from 6:00PM-9:00PM
I bet you, you cannot look at the paintings from Emilio Villalba’s new exhibit Talk to Me without doing a double take. The prominent theme of the paintings are facial features which are offset and repeated sometimes on a head or as part of a face and other times against an bleak or black abstract backdrop, out of context. The unexpected offsetting and repetition force the viewer to get in close and really use the eyes and engage the mind to understand, I had to use one eye at a time even. Even after a careful up-close and thorough inspection of the work, stepping back again to take in the entire piece and it boggles the mind all over again.
The repetition of facial features also creates ideas of a disjointedness-two mouths, three eyes, and rubbed out features. There is a darkness, there is a mystery, there is pain, and there is a struggle for the true face to be revealed out of a stark landscape - the form of a face is only visible in relation to the light which illuminates it. Nothing appears complete, there is a veil which drapes itself over the subjects of the painting hiding them from view.
Very engaging, dark, and powerful work which forces the viewer to look hard and think. Furthermore, the painting technique and overall aesthetic of the exhibit is cohesive and compelling.