California-based artist Emilio Villalba creates portraits in oil paint that explore the human condition through gestural abstraction.
“I’m fascinated with the idea of human emotion and why it is so important”, Villabla explains. “In my paintings, I try to explore and express emotion by altering and distorting features—creating a kind of dissonance.” His work does this by reproducing the subtle shifts of those who sit for him—the anxious movement of mouths, the flickering of eyelids, the body language that depicts emotion in a physically tangible way. “With these pieces, I wanted to explore a kind of omnipresent pressure I think we all live under. One that grows out of the clash between humanity—our unique mess of emotions, obsessions and urges—and society’s prescription for success”, he explains in his artist statement. “I’ve always been fascinated by the mess.”
All images © Emilio Villalba