Take Me To Charlie Town: Carlos Carnicer Cañada.
Take me to that place where only what´s within view matters. Anything out of sight is out of mind, and in front of me is nothing but realness. Substance everywhere you look inside this studio with so much historical significance, especially in Aragon where the name is well recognized and respected.
Carlos Carnicer Cañada was born in Zaragoza in 1988, 100 years after his grandfather Alejandro Cañada Valle, the great master from Teruel. The two men have exactly the same facial features. As much as I´m tempted to delve into his rich artistic heritage and the talented bloodline he benefits from, I have to separate Carlos from his family. Each one of his ancestors and teachers deserves their own indexed chapter, and they indeed receive due credit from the media and institutions.
His grandfather Alejandro worked tirelessly for a lifetime to produce and preserve an immense amount of quality works, pioneer new styles and develop and train some of the most influential Aragones artists from the second half of the 20th century. His mother, also an exhibiting artist, now carries out that noble tradition as head of their family fine arts academy, Estudio Cañada, ushering in a new wave of passionate creatives while keeping the spirit of the space intact,
with many original tools still in place from the days of Alejandro. His aunt has been commissioned to paint portraits of Royal families and the worlds most famous people. Both of his sisters are handy with a brush, a cursory glance at their work confirms it.
But "Charlie," as I call him... Charlie is the future. Charlie´s work stands out to me as different from the rest of what is stashed around his family´s 300 square meter studio and art school. Off in the far corner, hidden behind stacks of what must be hundreds of oil paintings by students of Cañada, each good enough to hang in a diplomat´s office, we slid out one by one the faces; those pieces of the Charlie who I came to Zaragoza to see.
We propped them up against work tables about a meter and a half apart to get a good look, 6 bellowing diptychs in total. Only one is a self portrait but they all depict sections of Charlie´s brain, allowing us to glimpse inside the mind of a man who drowns himself in color and shape all day every day of his life, a man who studies faces and lines and connectivity so much that they become his universe. He´s a man who is careful to step soundly; he´s precise and disciplined in his craft but at the same time capable of letting the world happen around him, absorbing it all at once and spitting it back out onto 146 cm of canvas.
Charlie doesn´t seem like the kind of guy who ever throws a fit. There is a calm, soothing air around him, as if he knows exactly what will happen in the end but cant give it away just yet--he wants you not to worry though. That´s obvious. Charlie isn`t afflicted by being an artist, he´s comfortable in the role and understands what is important about it. He understands what it takes and why he´s doing it. He also understands his own work, both conceptually and in simple terms.
The series of paintings I want you all to know, Charlie´s "FACE REALITY" oil paintings, were explained to me by the artist in his studio last week as follows, paraphrased:
"I paint so many portraits, realistic and abstract. I´ve been painting portraits for so many years, looking intensely at faces for so many hours. I begin to see faces everywhere without having to look. Everything is faces. In the sky you see a face, or in the lake. In this type of flooring too, I see many faces. When this happens it is called pareidolia"
We both looked down at the floor, a sort of marble pattern tiled floor, but I didn´t see any faces. I went to take a sip of my espresso, hoping some beady black eyes would peek out at me from under the crema; nothing. The only way I could see things through the eyes of Carlos Carnicer Cañada was to stare at these amazing paintings of his I had all around me, and so I did.
I strongly reckon you should too.
The "FACE REALITY" series will be available for viewing and purchase as a solo exhibiton by Carlos Carnicer Cañada in GALLERY OPENING in Barcelona during the months of November and December 2021. You can follow it online @gallery.opening for more updates, and further contact information relating to this article is below.
Don´t miss your chance to meet this artist face to face in a room full of faces that he painted. Look yourself in the eyes and "FACE REALITY."