MARC STRAUS is proud to present the third one-person exhibition by Spanish painter Antonio Santín. Known for his luscious trompe l’oeil paintings of Oriental rugs rendered in oil on canvas, Santín’s investigation into the reciprocal relationship between process and material led to the discovery of new techniques in oil paint application. Oil, as a sculptural material in his hands becomes a highly expressive tool. For this new show, Santín energizes visceral surfaces with a personal approach to layering paint, resulting in work that uncannily resemble quotidian textures.


Having been struck by the beauty and form of an antique Chinese Coromandel lacquer screen he saw at The Metropolitan Museum of New York, Santín creates surfaces of Cinnabar red carvings typically found on such furniture with only oil paint. In the monumental 13-foot, 10-panel painting,Sisyphus Circus, depths of incised floral patterns are intricately layered. With his gift of color and unique application these new panel simulacrums emanate the intensity and intricacy of their lacquered prototypes.

Wishing to further investigate applications of oil paint, Santín commissioned construction of a unique air-compression machine. With a precision of a neurosurgeon in an all-over drip composition, the Confetti paintings share the same freedom of frenetic expression enjoyed by the American Expressionists in chromatic jubilation. Flat strips of multicolored oil paint are interlocked in stasis – the tension between the technique and the real motif give these Confetti paintings their special vitality. They are in the end joyful masterful works.

An assiduous and evocative painter with an acute sense of art history, Santín maintains an ardor for Classical art. With echoes of High Renaissance, Baroque and Mannerism, his handling of paint allows the material to become fabric-like with discernible strands of woven thread. He espouses Chiaroscuro modeling and alters the viewer’s sensory perception by buckling his rug paintings so convincingly with light and shadows. “It Ching”, 2016, a pure monochromatic white rug unequivocally demonstrates his remarkable control of both the picture and the technique. In his work, Santín predicates the Zeuxis tension between art and reality.

Antonio Santín was born in Madrid, Spain in 1978. He received his Degree in Fine Arts from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2005. His work has been exhibited in international museums, including the Kunstraum Bethanien, Berlin, Kunsterhaus Glogauer, Berlin, and the Centre dárt Contemporani Piramidon, Barcelona and is represented in the collections of Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris and Museu Europeu d’Art Modern, Barcelona as well as among numerous private collections worldwide. Public installations include a permanent sculpture commissioned by the city of Madrid in 2003. Antonio Santín lives and works in New York.