Jamie Boyd 'cold white envelope' with sculpture by Antonio Lopez Reche
A painter who has been here before and who continues to impress, born in Eastbourne he studied at Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology and at Falmouth College of Art where he gained both a BA (Hons) First Class and an MA Illustration, Authorial Practice, and in the seven or eight years since then he has exhibited extensively and gained a number of awards including an artist residency at Falmouth Docks.
One who adopts a highly individual approach and stance towards his exhibitions – such solo shows as his The Face of Kenya and Swimming in the Shallows seen here in 2009 and 2010 respectively are remembered with pleasure – he calls this one Cold White Envelope, a title which comes from Nick Cave's Love Letter – "I kiss the cold white envelope/I press my lips against her name/Two hundred words we live in hope/The sky hangs heavy with rain."
Mostly figurative with many of the paintings and print works it contains having been based on the theme of anticipation, he says that the works in his Cold White Envelope have "emerged over the course of a year taking inspiration from films, photographs and lyrics, layered with experience, until images took hold".
His bold figures represent the many facets of the human condition and are as fascinating as they are firm.
The Legendary half-man, half-bull Minotaur, fated to be confined in Crete in a labyrinth made by Daedalus, fed on human flesh, and eventually slain by Theseus, has long been subject matter for the artist, but few will have treated him, or it, so impressively or humanely as the Barcelona-born sculptor Antonio Lopez Reche does in his exhibition in Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance.
To say that his sculpture, all 6ft of it or so, dominates proceedings is an understatement.
A piece which not only succeeds because of its size, as well as capturing and transmitting a sense of the power of the Minotaur it also does the same for the pathos of its predicament and leaves you feeling that, if only you had the room, you would quite like to take it away and give it a good home.
An artist whose work has been described as being "an eclectic incursion into the language of sculpture", Antonio Lopez Reche began his art education and training in the fine arts faculty of the University of Barcelona, and later studied at St Martin's School of Art & Design in London, where he has lived and worked since the mid-1990s.
Although he has exhibited widely throughout the UK, from Cambridge and Corbridge to Newcastle and London, this is the first time he has shown here and, aside from his striking Minotaur, what an impressive debut it is.
A sculptor whose figurative works relates to Mediterranean mythology and folk tales, as it has been said: "They capture the immediacy and rawness of materials such as clay, wax or plaster into bronze, as well as his interest in expressive tool marks and spontaneous modelling. He also has a deep interest in a more conceptual line of work in which, still using mostly bronze casting the repeated reproduction of an object, sometimes created by the artist, sometimes snatched from our immediate daily life, creates a new form. Although these pieces start with the fascination with the chosen object, soon the repetition and organisation of these elements create a new dimension far from the original object."
Whether near or far from his original object, whatever Antonio Lopez Reche does, and in whatever medium, from Ride and Bird Boy to Trotting Horse and Transformed Daphne, his works are something special.
Admission is free, and the works of Jamie Boyd and the sculptor Antonio Lopez Reche and can be seen in Cornwall Contemporary, 1 Parade Street, Queen's Square, Penzance, from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, until June 13.