The Work of Dino Valls

Spanish painter Dino Valls’ profound, psychological paintings are influenced by Italian and Flemish masters and a clear fascination with the human body both in a spiritual and anatomical sense.  Having completed a degree in medicine and anatomy, Valls  devoted his life to painting, training himself in the use of oil paint and egg tempera.  Employing the use of traditional figurative composition and conventions, he creates compelling psychological work loaded with symbolism in every minute detail and choice of object.  His figures deliberately and unnaturally posed as living components within these masterful still lives.  His paintings are often segmented, examining its various scrupulously painted elements within glass cases and organised shelves or drawers like specimens, while paper scraps and postcards, detritus of a life, cover parts of his subjects faces, explaining far more than their innocent and tear-stained features ever could.  By employing classical techniques that divide his triptychs and diptychs into literally and neatly divided conceptual frameworks, Valls establishes links in our minds with familiar religious scenes and changes their contexts entirely.  The repeated, almost emblematic use of what seems to be the same pubescent girl in each of his paintings, vulnerable yet sexually suggestive in her direct eye contact, nudity and various poses, suggests a sadistic and superficially erotic tone that shouldn’t overpower the deeper meaning of his work.  She is restricted within the physical borders of canvas or wood, tied up, measured, scrutinised, poked, pierced and even cleanly divided and dissected into parts in display cases alluding strongly to his scientific background as does the repeated use of latin text.  Valls work skilfully combines sadistic examination and intellectual obsessions to create spectacularly subtle and thought provoking imagery that makes him undeniable as a modern master.

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