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SP118. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal
SP118. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal
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A Brief Introduction to Yago Hortal in 10 Stunning Artworks

Picture of Tara Jessop
Updated: 22 February 2017
If there’s one word that could best be used to introduce Yago Hortal’s work it has to be: color. This Barcelona born-and-raised artist uses paint to create bold canvas-works on which color seemingly comes to life at the touch of his brush. Here are 10 paintings which offer a glimpse at the artist’s mesmerizing chromatic vision.

Looking at one of Yago Hortal‘s artworks you’re immediately struck by the primacy of color: vivid, pure, unrestricted. Paint appears smudged, smeared, spread and splattered as it comes into contact with its final resting place on the canvas.

SP104. (2016) Courtesy of artist
SP104. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

In fact there are broadly three types of work Hortal produces, or “families” as he refers to them himself, borrowing the concept from fellow Spanish painter Juan Uslé – another artist fascinated by color – to describe the different pictorial groups to which the works of a same author may belong.

SP37. (2013) Courtesy of artist
SP37. (2013) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

The first one is formed by smaller-scale paintings which expand and break the classic pictorial format, bringing the works closer to a world more typical of sculpture.

SP126. (2016) Courtesy of artist
SP126. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal
SP10. (2012) Courtesy of artist
SP10. (2012) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

In the second, large brushstrokes are the main protagonists of the work. The tension between background and figure increases in the eyes of the viewer owing to the sheer scale of the movements rather than the color alone. For Hortal, the brushstroke is at the same time the minimum and maximum pictorial expression, and that which gives the most value to this second family of work.

SP136 (2016) Courtesy of artist
SP136 (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal
SP30. (2012) Courtesy of artist
SP30. (2012) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

The third is characterized first and foremost by the almost calligraphic use of small, strongly contrasted brushstrokes. Here the artist explores complex compositions where the paint seems to remain frozen in time. This allusion to memory is no coincidence, temporality is a concept which fascinates Hortal and frequently comes into play in his work.

SP106. (2016) Courtesy of artist
SP106. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

Together these three families give way to a constantly evolving body of work, one in which the boundaries of the artist’s own control over his art are tested. Hortal is constantly questioning the relationship between the artist’s intention for his work and the nature of the raw materials he works with as they appear in front of him.

SP120. (2016) Courtesy of artist
SP120. (2016) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal
SP44-45-46. (2013) Courtesy of artist
SP44-45-46. (2013) | Courtesy of Yago Hortal

To see Yago Hortal’s work on display or purchase one of his canvases, you can visit the Galería Senda in Barcelona or the Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska in Salzburg.