written by Erica Lindsay Walker, vice president, education chair
This coloured pencil work was part of the PAS 2016 Exhibition, which means I got to see it in person. At first glance it reminded me of the severe still lifes by the great Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán – which is fitting, as Paco Martin Dominguez is from Spain and can claim the work of Zurbarán as his heritage.
Zurbarán had a stark take on things. He shows us ordinary, humble objects, presented on a table as on an altar. The backgrounds are deep black and intensify the sacramental feeling. Martin Dominguez’s work is similar up to a point, but then he gives it his own unique twist. Here, he pairs a couple of tangerines with something equally humble but much more unexpected: crumpled brown paper. In this way he compels us to see each object anew. What do we make of this?
One thing we make of it is that it is beautiful. Seeing this in person was a treat. It is full of painstaking care and attention to detail, so rewarding to linger over. The artist has really looked at his subjects, and he wants us to appreciate them as much as he does himself. The first thing we notice about the tangerines is their glowing colour, but then we notice the finely pitted skin and delicate pith. I especially love the little dots of light in the unpeeled orange, just enough to convey the texture overall.
I think the crumpled paper deserves a special mention. This gives the piece a lot of its energy. It is a marvel of creases and shapes, almost like a map. Lines zigzag here and there, drawing our eyes around the work. The tones are so beautiful and varied: again and again we see highlights and shadows come together as sharply as an argument, then dissolve into each other as if in reconciliation. The patterns created by the paper also echo those of the fruit’s pith, bridging the top and bottom halves of the work and creating unity as well as visual interest.
The warm, gentle colours unite the work as well, with soft beiges and creams, burgundies and rich mouthwatering oranges – pun intended! I think this warmth is one of the reasons why “Tangerines” is so inviting. We feel a part of this scene, comfortable and relaxed. We want to scrunch up the paper even more and run our fingertips over the fruit. I love seeing work like this in coloured pencil! Just more evidence that nothing is beyond its reach!