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Carlos Delgado has garnered much international recognition in the past decade. Dividing his time between his native Colombia and his adopted city of Toronto, his works explore a multitude of human  expressions  and  interactions—as  his  subjects  relate  to  each  other  as  well  as  their imposed  social  constructs—a  duality  mirrored  by  Delgado’s  own  two-city  life. 


Focused  on capturing these nuances and tensions that permeate our daily routines, his work becomes not only a social commentary, but also a reflection of how we create the world around us and our respective roles within it. Delgado  enhances  these  emotive  paintings  through  gestural  brushwork,  drawing  his  figures with broad strokes, abstracting certain details while emphasizing their distinguishing features. Bold  colours  further  play  with  the  portraits  and  their  settings,  highlighting  positive and negative space, distorting the 3-dimensionality,   and   demonstrating   Delgado’s   painterly confidence.

In  the  tradition  of  figurative  painting,    Delgado  stands  apart  with  a  marked  contemporary aesthetic. In his young career, he has been a winner of several art awards by the Toronto Arts Foundation,   the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Arts Council, as well as being an artist in residence at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto. His work has been shown in group  and  solo  shows  in  Canada,  Colombia,  Sweden,  Denmark,  Norway, France,  and  Russia,  and  is collected by private collectors in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.


Most recently, Carlos completed an artist residency in Barcelona, Spain, where he was able to further develop the idea to create art in the galleries themselves, amongst an audience of collectors. The tour, entitled, "Transition," began in his homeland, Colombia, before it moved to Europe, where he continued this practice in galleries in Malmö, Sweden and Bergen, Norway, with live paintings and solo exhibitions. Extending this concept to North America, his final stop will be in Toronto, Canada, at Emily Harding Gallery, which has shown his work since its inception, and where he felt the need to finish where it all started. 


I  am  fascinated  by  the  way  human  beings express  themselves  and  relate  to  one  another within  our  modern  systems.  The  environment that  I  am  in,  including  all  of  the  cultural  and social   aspects,   are   the   influences   and   the subjects  of  my  work.  Within  these  systems  I  try  to  find  the  human  elements,  those  subtle expressions  of  our  emotions,  experiences  and  stories  that  make  us  unique  and  yet  at  the same time connect us to each other. Through my abstract portrait work, I focus on the subtle way  these  human  experiences  are  expressed,  be  it  in  our  facial  gestures,  in  the  way  we occupy and share space with each other, or the way we present ourselves to the world.

My   drawings   and   sketches   are   my   instantaneous translations  of  the  wide  array  of  emotions  around  me—the way  someone  looks  in  a  particular  direction,  or  the  way they  avoid  eye  contact  in  a  public  space.  All  of  these  are masks  that  we  wear  in  public,  masks  which,  even  though they  may  try,  do  not  hide  the  complexity  of  our  emotional human  self.  The  sketches  grab  a  particular  emotion  and look past the chaos of the façade and every day realities to find  the  emotional  stories  of  the  people  around  me.  They are  created  fast  and  organically,  as  to  not  lose  any  of  the subtle  self-expression  shared  through  a  look,  a  posture,  a gesture, a glance.

Translating these moments, I create abstract paintings, oftentimes playing with the techniques of mark-making with a palette knife, and letting the paint naturally form and interweave.   The faces in the paintings are not one particular person, rather they are the emotional translation of  the  world  around  me,  of  many  people  in  one,  including  myself. They  are  the  reflection  of the  world  we  live  in  and  also  relate  to. The  colour  palettes  are  formed  through  a  process  of layering,  and  reflect  many  states  in  any  given  moment.  For  example,  a  dark  piece  can  at  the same time seem sad and nostalgic, as it can be hopeful and strong. Human emotion and the experience of that emotion is never manifested in one simple way; as such, the paintings and the  drawings  invite  the  the  viewer  to  find  their  own  story  within  it,  allowing  for  a  sense  of relatedness. In a world where there is much disconnection from each other, where we co-exist together  in  same  spaces  and  yet  are  not  connected,  my  work  hopes  to  connect  us  to  those subtle experiences that make us all human.

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