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Brazilian artist Rafael Barons first solo show with albertz benda on view in L.A.
Rafael Baron: Portraits. albertz benda, Los Angeles. April 2 - 30, 2022. Photo: Julian Calero.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- albertz benda is presenting Rafael Baron: Portraits, the Brazilian artist's first solo show with the gallery. With this exhibition, the artist presents a series of paintings showcasing his signature style of portraiture; enigmatic figures with large, exaggerated lips and dark, deep eyes, nearly shut but not quite. Vibrant textiles, patterned with thick swatches of oil paint, emphasize the figures’ individuality. Monumental in scale, these works celebrate his subjects with bold, dynamic color and rhythmic compositions.

In Maria Luísa, 2022, a woman, her dark hair swirling around her head, dominates the composition. Her expression is ambiguous, and the purple-pink background reveals little of her surroundings. The subject’s personality is legible only through her expressive attire— the colorful, patterned frock and gold earrings suggest both a sense of vivacity and eminence.

Curator Raphael Fonesca writes that Baron’s group scenes “invite us to observe the racial, gender, hair, jewelry, and clothing differences of these bodies. What unites and separates these small gatherings?” In Inseparáveis, 2022, four androgynous figures encircle the body of a woman. Larger in scale and swathed in electric blue fabric, this central body unites the composition. Brought together, the figures’ varying clothing, hair styles, and skin tones triumphantly recognize diversity and community.

Rafael Baron (B. 1986, Nova Igaçu, Brazil) sees art as a powerful communication tool that can contribute to a harmonious social experience. His brightly colored portraits of diverse individuals propose an open dialogue on tolerance and diversity. He was recently included in “Wish you were here,” a curatorial project by Danny First at The Cabin, Los Angeles. Baron was awarded in the 2019/2020 “Garimpo” contest promoted by Dasartes magazine, an accolade aimed at Brazilian emerging artists who have never had an individual exhibition at an art institution. His works belong to private collections in Brazil and abroad and are also included in the collection of the Museo de Arte de Río, Brazil.

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