Thursday, October 23, 2008
Art Brut? Outsider Art? or just Art
Pedro Martin DeClet created several Portraits de Genocide, depicting martyrs of ethnic backgrounds, including Hispanic and American Indian. The first piece in the series was created while DeClet was serving a term in prison. Its finish was floor wax, made possible by a supportive staff member. The rest of the series has been created as a free man. I chose this large version (about 5 ft. tall) to show you, as it's Pedro at his best. More of his work, is available at my gallery, and eventually will make it to the web site
Pedro also compulsively re-examines the self-portrait. The outer guise changes from devil to angel, warrior to clarion. His physical scars are always apparent; the psychological scars remain hidden below layers of paint and wax. The repeated retelling begs for a witness; the validation of a witness helps to ameliorate the pain. His prison years and his involvement with the Latin Kings are far behind him, only occasionally resurfacing as fodder for his art.
Pedro is exquisitely aware of the art world, and the poetry and prose of the most renowned authors and wordsmiths; however, his work is not at all derivative. It is purely his own vision, his own pain. He dares you not to turn away, and he demands that you see his powerful images barely contained within the context of the paper. His use of color is seductive, giving the eye a resting place before revisiting the image in its entirety. Although completely self-taught, his frequent use of both Latin and Spanish text within his work gives it a unique sophistication. His self-portraits reveal him as he is--sweet, moody, confrontational, scarred, and hopeful.