Luis Santos experiments with the photorealistic painting as specimen, one that can quietly creep into human consciousness to unnerve and unsettle.
Amongst his repeated subject matter is that of skulls, both human and animal. These he reproduces with scientific accuracy against wooden panels or a monochrome background from models of skulls, relating the real-life medical dissection process with the methodical building up of illusion in painting, thereby exploring death, meaning and the essence of existence in certain ambivalent, metaphysical directions Santos has been exhibiting in solo shows in the Philippines since 2010, the first named Modular/Variations zooming in on traumatized human skulls that bear marks of illness or injury. In his recent one-man show in Manila, Then It Happened (2013), ten portraits of art world friends, mentors and relatives surround the viewer. While their dress stands out in clear depiction, their faces are blurry, paradoxically frozen in a whirl of movement. The community of people depicted familiar enough to many viewers, but standing apart in their strangeness and elusiveness as neither corpse nor ghost.
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