Has the dawn fallen? A talk with Andres Alfonso

During our opening night of “The Modern Nude: Contemporary Art of the Human Form,” we noticed there were several emotional responses to the work of Andres Alfonso, a Colombian native painter.  The paintings arrived boasting larger than life sizes on the gallery’s back wall. The three pieces took over an enormous section of the wall in the back part of the gallery.  The darker monochromatic portraits evoked reactions from the public that ranged from sadness, despair, to genuine awe.  Where did this intensity come from?  “Has the Dawn Fallen,” the first piece in the series depicts an angel clutching herself with one wing extended skywards. We can't see her face. There are pair of dice on the table where she lies. Two sixes are shown. We caught up with painter Andres Alfonso to discuss the intense energy that his pieces seemed to evoke in our viewers. 

Why do you choose the subjects you choose to paint?

Mythology and symbols of all cultures attract me, they are recurring themes in my pictorial work; It is remarkable that the symbol manifests itself in our dream state and that while we are awake, we can fantasize about the myths that have been narrated throughout the history of man. Speculation about the existence of a god or a creator is something that makes me believe in the need to take a brush and try to question it through the back of my mind, I don't see any answer in my painting, but I do find many questions that allow me to smile at my destiny. I do not think I have a specific reason for the theme that I address in my pictorial work, but generally, they are based on the search for human thought.

Why the human form?

The human figure allows me to tell a supposed reality that is close to the reality of my existence; that is, I live with my body and my interactions and experiences with life, generally, they have been with other humans. I also incorporate objects or other types of beings in my paintings, but I believe the human figure is the most sincere method to narrate what I am wanting to tell.

How do interpersonal connections affect a piece?

It is very difficult to want to evade my personal experiences with the final result in a pictorial piece, even though I disguise my subjects with metaphors, in a certain way the final result is reflected; character, anger, hatred, love, and happiness are emotions and feelings that will always be manifesting in my brushstroke.

Is family a big part of your process? If so, how?

For many people, a family is a large group of people who accompany them in all stages and processes of their formation, they are always there to support each other and together build goals and achievements and meet their objectives. In my case, I have all the moral and sentimental support of my mother and my wife; these two are my bases and my columns, my support. It may be that they do not have enough money to support and invest in me, but the most important thing is that the two women in my life believe in my painting. The two of them are my only support and my only family.

Do you find yourself going through intense emotions during painting? If so, what themes are recurring in your current series?

Of course, at the moment I am experiencing some health problems, the pain manifests in my body through 3 herniated discs and a degenerative spinal problem, they require surgery, but I do not want to be operated on, I have preferred to endure and live with my pain daily. I am currently working on a self-portrait where I make clear, through the symbol, the pain that I am carrying in my back.

How often do you encounter perceived errors, and if so, how do you deal with them?

I know that my pictorial work is a process and each piece that I show to the public is only the result of a long pictorial study.  In a certain way, my paintings are errors that I have to correct with future work. I have serious problems with color, shape, proportion, and composition; I try to study daily in my workshop, but I have to show my work; then the result of what I teach is my pictorial studies and speculations. I consider myself a student and that is why I receive virtual classes with prominent teachers of realistic and academic figuration.