ELLES (THEY)

Sebastià Martí

Barcelona, 2011

Exhibition of forty portraits of forty women in the Paspartú room, in the Gràcia neighbourhood.

Why them? Very simple: I paint what I like. And it is not just a question of physical attraction, although the sexual component is very apparent in many of my paintings. There are other motives, such as affection for someone close to you, curiosity about being a certain way, or simply, fascination with a certain shape or gesture.

All the women in this exhibition (except the Madonna, who is imaginary) are or have been around me (not necessarily near) in recent years: my wife, my daughters, recent or lifelong friends, simple acquaintances and complete strangers. However, behind this diversity it is possible to find some common traits.

In most of the paintings, the starting point is an element that gives rise to a certain exaggeration or deformation. In “Excess” was the hands sinking into the breasts; in “40”, the folds of flesh that gather around the elastic of the thong. There is no general rule: I simply explore the body and try positions until I feel butterflies in my stomach.

From this element I build the rest of the figure, looking for an attitude that I find interesting and aesthetic (always in that order) and avoiding complacent similarities. I have a fondness for frontal poses, and more specifically, for the eyes-neck-chest combination. In fact, the reason for not painting more asses (another part that I also love) is precisely because of that.

In general, I like to enlarge the eyes, stretch the necks and exaggerate the chest, although there is no standard formula here either: the scale factor is adjusted in each case depending on what the person transmits to me. Each painting is the interpretation of a woman—my interpretation. And this exhibition is a portrait of me through them.