White Squares Gallery in Las Vegas is where I first saw Jorge Villalba's work.
His painting The Kidnapping of Ganymedes I, 2004 is thrilling with its darkness and photo realism. Many of Villalba’s paintings are reminiscent of beautiful and perfect children, often in chilling poses or situations. Villalba’s work suggests an intentional instigation but of what is often disputed. When I went back there today to visit my friend C. The Kidnapping of Ganymedes I again beckoned my attention. I told C. how wonderful I thought it was and she said that the reaction of many visitors is one of outrage at Villalba's painting, which they view as child pornography?!?!
I think his paintings are brilliant, not lewd. To me the paintings speak more of dichotomies between naiveté and death or innocence and evil. Villalba’s paintings often depict children with faces that are perfectly angelic and totally realistic. The coloring of the children is almost always cast in a natural glow, with the backdrop often sparse and dark. Common in his paintings are brightly colored toys that are recognizable as contemporary.
Born in Spain in 1975, Villalba’s painting style and technique are clearly recognizable and defined. He is able to created works that are reminiscent of portraits or depict characters and events in times past, yet with an indisputable presence in this moment.
The Picnic (2008)
Hansel and Gretel (2007)
Here is the link for White Square Gallery in Las Vegas.