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Boys in the Garden  oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

By Marina Shterenberg


In his new series "The Garden of good and Evil " Armando Sebastian brings together the depth of the intimate and the vastness of the divine.  With the use of allegory he is able to communicate complex ideas with means that are comprehensible and striking to the viewer.  Rooted in autobiographical details, Sebastian takes us into the atmosphere of human pain and vulnerability reminiscent of the ex-voto paintings.  The seemingly naive quality in his technique introduces the language of abstraction and we are able to connect the movement of the stars to the beating of a bleeding heart. 


Perhaps the works can most closely identify with the genre of magical realism.  Sebastian’s child-like fascination with the folds of cloth, texture of insect wings, wallpaper stains, or color of bird feathers in an enigmatic way lead us to explore questions of identity and gender.


One consistent element in Sebastian’s work is the gaze - confrontational wide open eyes, commanding our full presence with which to enter each painting’s  carefully constructed world.  As if reflecting in a mirror our own innocence and mystery, the eyes invite us to feel desire, uncertainty, tenderness, grace. While each detail is rendered with great devotion, the world that we find ourselves in is more similar to the incongruent world of the surrealists.  Ribbons become highways to heavens, slender bodies growing out of land masses, rooms transformed into tropical gardens, rips in a backdrop opening into gallaxies. 


There is a quietness about the paintings, they contain everything that was said and left unsaid at the same time.   In this boundless space, the feminine and the masculine meet in their naked humbleness.  This is a world of innocence before the ‘word’ was created, a coexistence of multiple truths.