Javier Cabrera: Entertainment at the end of time: Roberto Moreno

Javier Cabrera: Entertainment at the end of time: Roberto Moreno

What leads a proven scientist, with a brilliant career in the field of his competence, to simply paint? But be careful, paint not randomly, casually, but based on the discipline of the self-taught; I mean, without conforming to regulated knowledge nor go to a normal center for it; Let us conclude, naturally and by our own hand, nothing more appropriate given the discipline we undertake. Going, therefore, from one extreme to another in an unusual way, given its antecedents, but meaningful and ‘con-meaning’ given what is appropriate.

The answer is given to us by himself. Robert Moreno when he maintains that painting reveals to him what he never specified as a scientist, and because time has warned him that it is in personal enjoyment, in the intimate movement where more green lights have ended up turning on; They are those that give us a certain form of happiness, when one, at the end of one’s life journey, as an octogenarian, takes advantage of life that brings benefit and pleasure. There is no beyond. Then, and knowing this composure, from now on, in the speech that he develops to take them into the ins and outs of their workI will talk, exclusively, about Roberto Monero painter.

Roberto Moreno enters the field of painting at a turning point and change in your life journey, Not coincidentally, since his love for plastic art accompanied him when he was still very young, since “my mother gave me a watercolor for children back in the 40s of the last 20th century,” he himself comments. There he was already inoculated, even unconsciously, with the incipient inclination for drawing and, somewhat later, but definitive, the devotion for painting. In his first approach to the discipline, the painter undertook all types of pictorial evaluation, whether landscapes or still lifes and eventually portraits. However, there is also a moment in which the portrait comes to the foreground and becomes the most common form of expression in the development of his work. Although he undertook the first, pure fantasy, almost a decade ago, it has been in the last five years where, at breakneck speed, it has taken on an unusual dimension in the development of his work.

The portraits

This is an exhibition dedicated exclusively to the work that Roberto Moreno has developed around portraiture. Portrait, which has encompassed a wide range of possibilities for its variants: there have been simple, direct, elemental if we want, those that, when designed at first, covered a basic state in the event of painting. But time, the predisposition of the painter and his own inclination to delve into the issue he deals with, has brought the condition of the portrait to a stage predisposed to the deepening of its study, as well. From those portraits, let’s call them, first impression, the author has diversified his ambition by creating his own visual discourse in that field. Thus, he has categorized a series of strata in which he has made room for a multiplicity of views on the same topic. Referential portraits emerge there, where the sitter is accompanied by one or several, additional supports that touch, either its immediate, geographical or social environment; his life, his profession or some pictorial game that the painter makes common between him and the sitter. But immediately, these portraits are affected by a condition in which the painter resorts to the allegorical as contextualization to provide the sitter with vital, emotional or casuistic support, which will make his portrait a distinctive feature in the personal evolution of the painter himself. . And more, in a corkscrew jump, in unconnoted time, the painter begins to play the sitter object of athe iconography that interests him, not to represent but to singularize according to the mood that instructs you at the moment. Thus begin the symbolic portraits, of referential elements linked to the art itself or the decantation of ideas of thought that the painter introduces into the context of the pieces, not as a subject for the character but as a personal plea by way of fun and pure satisfaction based on the very fact of painting.

‘Helena in New York’, 2022. Acrylic on canvas. 90x60cm.


Obviously, there has not been a conscious behavior in the contextualization of the work and there has been in the particularization of each piece. This means that the painter, without constant purpose although constant over time, has created a series of his work that is declared reliable and defines itself. In this way, and randomly in the movement of his painting, one can appreciate the units of plastic criteria and scenography, of pictorial variants and, above all, clarity to give the portrait itself an ambition of style.

This is resolved when we appreciate how, with greater assiduity, the painter turns to his portraits, unleashing a symbolic charge that has become his patent. They begin, on one side, to become more and more evident, the nominative elements to the art itself, and if in some of the paintings there is a direct allusion to Hieronymus Hieronymus, in a good part of them it will be contemporary painting that is brought into the context – be it a game, entertainment or irony, of course -, of course. many of its pieces. Thus, we will appreciate a sample that ranges from the wink to the Expressionism, in the translation of some works by the painter Egon Schieleinserted in distant contexts, to ‘stolen’ specters – in the very meaning that we would subtract from Picasso – where both the Cubismin juicy references to Braque, such as the historical avant-garde where, his spiritual father, Matisse, has its little reference altar. At the same time, he surprises us with composition backgrounds brought from Neoplasticism, a Mondrian stained glass window is the example, but also from the American Expressionist School – by American -, narratives of magnified moments of his culture – the jazz of his poster imagery in urban recreational spaces– from the 40s to 50s of the 20th century. Until completed in some specific painting in which Roberto Moreno already lends himself to a recurring double game, where painting and structural ideogram, historicist scenography or enigmatic nomenclature, however hermetic, fit together to coincide in an intellectual sentence in their own way. Here I find, perhaps not even the painter himself has realized it nor does he have to, the ‘entertainment’ that can be extracted from the work of Varus remediesSpanish surrealist painter exiled in Mexico and lately recovered for current Spanish art.

In the portraits one can linger to find pictorial clues, purposeful historical references, games of stylistic mirrors and the painter’s own sentences incorporated in the manner of cryptic messages. Likewise, in the appreciation of the serials and the contextualization of their precepts, but, then, we would leave the viewer without personal guidelines for his own unraveling of the work. Therefore, it is convenient to stop here and let everyone enjoy – either directly in the exhibition, or in the cataloging – their own portrait that appears of their person, or the rest of the portraits that could very well have been inserted in the same context, or No.

A self-absorbed fantasy: Louise Brooks

Before Marilyn Monroe or Ava Gardner, even before Sofia Loren or Brigitte Bardot, on par with Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich, it was Louise Brooks an emblematic actress and erotic icon of American silent cinema in the 1920s, who moved to Europe, self-exiled from the Hollywood of the time to, curiously, make her two best films here, either in Germany or France; and that settled in the Paris of the time, it was a symbol of the modernity of the moment, recognizable in its now historic hairstyle. ‘Loulou’.

Roberto Moreno has made the period portraits of the actress – undoubtedly the highlight of his entertainment as a painter – the motif and centrality for a series of pieces taking the diva as the object to be portrayed. At the same time, imagining and providing it with a set and props where the ironic game, the display of humor of knowledge, play an evaluation fundamental in the enjoyment and contemplation of the work. Let us draw attention first, of course, to the sitter herself, the object of devotion of the painter who surrounds her with that glamor typical of the moment, with a decadent touch that gives her a mythical aureole, a pictorial thread that exemplifies her as lyrical pattern and, above all, an ‘ad hoc’ animalistic approach, where the animal par excellence to disturb intelligence, the cat, the face-to-face and front-row actor, in which to find the dispersion of the double game.

On the one hand, the model becomes the setting that the painter gives it, but there will also be an assessment of the adaptation he makes to accommodate it to the discourse that interests him and with which, undoubtedly, he dreams; On the other hand, as a theatrical counterweight to the stylized and iconic figure of the actress, we find the cat, the various cats, the invariable colorful and colorful cats, who doze, gorge themselves, stand up or model themselves in the manner of the ‘pretty’, to trigger the visual eclogue to the center of the viewer’s mood. But, likewise, we are once again, face to face, with the pictorial reference, an icon of the romantic curse of the moment and who died just two years before, of that honorably named ‘Spanish flu’ after the first great war, Egon Schiele. Without a doubt, Roberto Moreno uses, at the same time as with the cats, his pictorial sample as another desire for measure opposed to the style of the model, in an environment of elegance where it causes imbalance and disturbance, an underlying way, perhaps, of showing the atavistic life of the actress.

To close: An ‘Affiche’ of Canarian wine

The last piece to which we dedicate a special section and with which we close this brief tour of the work of Roberto Moreno is a painting that has the quality of an illustrative motif for a poster and/or poster, a seasoning of the painter’s imagination, dedicated to the wine. The painting is defined by a portrait of a ladya, difficult to place in a specific time because it transpires that stylistic mode somewhere between the 40s and 50s, always the 20th century but, likewise, it could seem like a current model dressed for the occasion in a promotion for a supposed line of Canarian wines. Halfway between the impressionist suggestion with a wink to Alphonse Mucha and the poster art at the beginning of the 20th century or the retro snapshot that recovers a hedonistic era of wine enjoyment.

The idyllic country setting contrasts with the model’s style and clothing; I guess then that it is quite an advertising set to review a wonderful Canarian broth, in other words, from the northern area, how. I then realize that no better snapshot can, in the same way, advertise and disseminate the desired image of Roberto Moreno’s exhibition. This, therefore, should be done: let us turn this plastic piece into an icon so that the exhibition focuses its content on it and this, in turn, serve as a claim for its dissemination and context.


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