Guillermo Lorca: Between Sensuality and Violence

The work of Chilean artist Guillermo Lorca stays in your mind long after you’ve seen it. It strikes some of our most primitive and fundamental impulses and emotions. It lays bare our desire for luxury, opulence and pleasure, and at the same time, exposes the darkness that courses through existence. Amid the luscious red of good food, the glittering gold of fine interiors, one finds competition and vengeance.

Hidden within the shiny flowers and leaves of a forest is a tiger or serpent. A gorgeous mansion is the site of a banquet where wild dogs full of bloodlust create havoc around white sheets. Alluring and unsettling, the paintings present the drama of nature on a heightened note. Things can grow and bloom to wealth and abundance, yet dangers are always around the corner. At any moment, a predator can arrive, and disturb and devour.

In some pieces, one finds next to shrieking monkeys and agitated cats, young human souls—black and white—that exhibit a certain innocence and fearlessness. Is this state a memory from some very distant past or a desired vision of the future, wherein humans live not above or below but in comfortable communion with other animals? That is for the viewer to decide.

Guillermo writes: “In my work, I seek to express authentic ideas in the Pre-Raphaelite sense of the word. There is no irony. Personally, my practice is the search for that psychic space that moves me away from nihilism. The technique and content are what can take care of this ethereal search.

“From the technical point of view, I am interested in the artisanal pictorial tradition, its intrinsic beauty, the subtleties of the brushstrokes that keep the painter’s unique hand and the many quotes to the history of painting. In addition, this type of painting, due to the time and dedication it needs, forces me to plan very well what I am going to paint. I think that the traditional technique is perfectly compatible with the new technologies.”


The Black Dragon © Guillermo Lorca


Guillermo with a painting


The artist continues: “What interests me most apart from the technical processes of painting, is that the symbols interact with each other in such a way that they reach the point of insinuating feelings and producing contradictions just and necessary to touch the viewer’s sensitive fibers. In that search the artists creates their own symbols that are sacred to them. In my case, animals and girls are revealed as preconscious, amoral creatures. Together they create an ocean of sensuality, violence, tenderness and beauty. It is the ambiguous and sensual violence of nature that seduces me the most.”

The great masters whom Guillermo is inspired by include Velázquez, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Lucian Freud, Gottfried Henwein and Frank Auerbach. On his process, he says: “First I think about what I’m about to paint, spontaneously I get the images of something that brings me a certain sensation, then comes the object to my mind and I always have a visual record of things that have caught my attention. I’m inspired by Contemporary Art, Internet and Old Masters. I start making sketches and notes on paper, and then I realize that those symbols cannot be just random, and I have to ensure that the work does not end in itself, because when something is excessively narrative, the box simply closes itself.”

Born in 1984 in Santiago, Guillermo attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. He was later apprentice and assistant to Odd Nerdrum in Norway. In 2011, he completed the GlogauAIR Art Residency in Berlin. Last year, Guillermo collaborated with renowned Swiss art auctioneer Simon de Pury on a unique art initiative for the British luxury brand Asprey, wherein a number of his works were exhibited in rooms above their flagship Bond Street store in London.

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Eternal Life © Guillermo Lorca

Bird of Paradise © Guillermo Lorca


Candy House © Guillermo Lorca