It’s an enormously dangerous task to try and meld fashion and fine art in Miami; a city that, in the global imagination, has its fashion credibility stapled in bikinis, barely-there shirts and dresses, and spangly Ed Hardy nonsense. Fashion illustration, on the other hand, is another matter. The raw, instinctive and fast-paced creations of past masters including Cecil Beaton, René Gruau and a young Andy Warhol ensured that a non-mechanical means of communicating fashion would survive the technological future. Sadly, with the rise of digital photography and image manipulation, fashion illustration is an endangered species of visual art.
Miami-born, bred and educated, 28 year-old Jorge Chirinos Sanchez revisits the spirit and movement resident in the field of fashion illustration with ‘Twenty Eight’, the season-opener for the Black Square Gallery in Wynwood. Five foot-tall canvases spanning the grey walls are swathed in solid blocks of practically unblended color, as if capturing his subjects in a world without ambiguity or gradation. Rather than focus on the beauty of the characters themselves, however, Sanchez elects to add tiny disturbances to the otherwise banal narrative. Eyes somehow lifted from a corpse put onto a model, a rifle and handgun in the hands of a blond hipster, and a friendly glimpse of a young woman is placed alongside a bluish female ghost, with all defining features blurred out.
While not quite wielding the command over form, color and tonality like New World School of the Arts predecessors Hernan Bas and Timothy Buwalda, Jorge Chirinos Sanchez shows promise in the passionate application of the paint over the wide surfaces employing the bold, as-seen-from-afar effect of a street mural versus a contained painting. A clear lineage from fashion illustration is established through dramatic brushstrokes depicting high cheekbones and swirling hair. Simultaneously, the artist keeps a tight grip on the orientation of his figures, not rendering them too ‘catwalk’ or serpentine.
In effect, Jorge Chirinos Sanchez plays this group of works with an underlying sense of unease; the gun-toting blond, sumo wrestlers in a state of potential energy ready to shift into kinesis, and the boxers at war all hint at the frustrations of presenting compelling contemporary imagery. What remains is whether or not Sanchez can rise to the challenge of fine-tuning color placement and compositional maturity in his canvases. The soul, the energy resides; now it must be filtered through an intellectual, emotional and visual kaleidoscope. Every facet, every neuron flowing through his subjects lies far beneath, so now he has to allow the viewer access the lightning storm. Jorge Chirinos Sanchez, despite his youth, displays a fiery determination in his painting that is only just out of reach. With a little time, the inner storm will have its lightning rod.