The Contemporary Academic Art of Isabel Garmon….
There are certain paintings and drawings one seems to remember forever, etched into memory not only for the visual ingenuity but the way in which a singular piece of art stirred something within, something deeper, an enduring admiration of sorts, often lasting a lifetime.
Portraiture in particular can have this effect. Within the sensitivity of form, one can read the breathing thinking being in charcoal drawing or layers of oil — this is a sensed yet invisible animation.
This is, for me, true of the Spanish artist Isabel Garmon’s classical work that builds on academic practice, and as well seems to create an intimacy born of the study of her subjects, and the human form. Isabel’s penchant for realism is paired masterfully with an elusive abstract quality….a balance difficult to achieve for most painters…
Isabel Garmon was born in Zaragoza and her first training began with studies in graphic design. The Spanish painter’s practice and interest transformed under the tutelage of the artist Amaya Gúrpide as well as direct instruction with the painter Jordan Sokol. Isabel went on to study at The Florence Academy of Art where her practice continued to grow and she came to create an approach she describes as “a combination between the worlds of illustration and academic art.”
Classicism is an important theme in Isabel’s academic oeuvre and yet within this anachronistic style there is a quality of reverie and dream, allowing a timeless beauty to emerge. She notes that she likes to see a notion of dream worlds within her work, this serving as the connection between historic techniques and contemporary lives.
“I have always been fascinated with the beauty of the human figure and constantly wanted to explore every corner of a body – in order to feel strongly the volume of every form and just to get closer to this. For me working on the human figure or even just a portrait magical because I get to connect with the soul of the person that is posing. This comes from my searching to understand how to give an impression of what I see. This should be the purpose of the representation of nature: to talk about our experience of the scene.”
Of all Isabel’s work, I found her portraits of male subjects the most engaging. There is a quiet observation of form that exceeds the female portraiture, a way of accurately depicting the body and face certainly, but as well something that extends beyond a sense of academic realism, there is present in each portrait a sense of the subject’s soul and a profoundly delightful sensuality, rich in paint and charcoal, unfurled carefully yet sumptuously before our eyes. A sense of delight in subject matter seems to reveal itself, a certain wholeness of depiction, an illustration of character and of beautiful image rendered in deep painterly lines.