OSCAR LEO

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Life is something that takes on many hues. It is a complexity, as well as an infinite simplicity. We are captured by it, led by it, immersed in it, and yet we also have the capacity as humans, to observe and ponder it from a distance.

Life is endlessly fascinating, as well as endlessly difficult and enjoyable. In what proportion it comes out as difficult and enjoyable often has to do with perspective, but so often it has as much if not more to do with circumstances.

Artists play the loop, as far as life and living is concerned. It is a loop of observation and experience, standing aloof from life in order to observe, placing themselves in the centre in order to experience. An artist that plays this loop with a great deal of innate talent is the Spanish artist Oscar Leo.

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar produces ranges of work where often finite, stationary, isolated individuals abound. His are compositions of young men, and like all young men they give mixed signals, mixed impressions of being. They are sure and unsure at the same time. They are confident and afraid, positive and despondent, connected and alone.

Youth is full of arrogance and self-belief, an ambience of focused and assured self. But all of us were young once, and all are aware at how fragile and thin is that layer of self-belief, of self-assurance. It is often a mask of belief, one that often slips, showing the vulnerable child that sits in the adult body, afraid and alone.

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series
Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar's work shows us that human dichotomy of self and non-self, of arrogance and lostness. His work shows the beauty of youth, but at the same time shows images that are haunting. There is a sadness here, not so much a sadness of the brevity of youth, though that can be experienced if needed. No, it is much more a case of the mixed blessings that life so often brings.

These are youths at the start of the journey of life, where ambiguity rarely exists. These are men who are boys, and boys who are men. These are times where everything is a possibility of excitement, and at the same time, where nothing is worth pursuing. Times when humour is dark, and anger is swift. These are the golden years as seen by the old, and the black years as seen by the young.

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

All of the compositions in this feature come from Oscar's 'Smokers' series. He has work in a number of series, as well as stand-alone compositions, all of which are beautifully focused on life lived by the individual, the journey of the self through the contemporary world of their own time.

The 'smokers' series was chosen because it helps to reflect and underline that nonchalance of youth, that confidence hinged on arrogance. There is little insecure rocking to and fro over worries of lung cancer, or mature age 'complications'. 

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Oscar Leo: Smokers Series

Young men are never ill, never have stays in hospital, never grow old, and live forever. They don't of course, but that focused attention on the simplicity of the positive helps to balance the clutch of fears and insecurity that are never far from the surface, the fears and insecurity that gradually bleed to the surface as age progresses.

Above all, we should see these compositions of Oscar as the delicate and fragile balances and masks of life. Of life lived, of life regretted, of life never imagined. The life we live, and the life we don't live are all part of the experience. Lack of experience is as much part of life as the experience, like non-space is as important as space, they are linked in a relationship of need, connection, and compassion. It is life as lived by all of us.

More of Oscar's work can be found at his website: https://oscarleoartista.wordpress.com/

He can also be found on Facebook

All imagery featured in this article were supplied and are copyrighted to the artist.

Oscar Leo: Self Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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