JOSE PICAYO

NOVEMBER 17 - JANUARY 15, 2000


Looking at Picayo’s new body of work makes one can wonder about the limits between photography and painting. His somber still lives echo the paintings of the Dutch masters of the 17th century like Jam de Heem and Jan Steen; but Picayo infuses these traditional compositions with flowers, glasses, silverware and remains of sumptuous meals not only the sharpness, but also the freshness and elegance of his photography.

Set against a black background all compositions convey the transience and fragility of life. All many of darkness, flowers, fruits and dead birds conjure the ambiguous atmosphere where life and death intermingle.

Each images contains an infinity of details that escape ones initial perception. For instance, the invitational piece seems at first to depict an apparently simple flower arrangement, but later reveals hidden bugs, leeches and moths. In another piece, two skulls frame an old prescription book from the early 19th century and a delicate blue Venetian glass vase. In one of his most striking images, of a duck and a quail hanging by their feet, the artist blends his formal inspiration with souvenirs of his childhood in the Cuban countryside.

Renowned as a fashion and still life photographer Picayo keeps his personal projects separate from his commercial work. Refusing labels, he is very eclectic when choosing subjects or defining a particular style, is always consistent in his meticulous approach of technique. He has worked on this exhibit for two years, shooting with 8” x 10” Polaroid film. The result of his preciseness are ten astonishing 30 x 40 digital pigment prints printed on canvas.

Born in Cuba, Picayo moved to Puerto Rico in 1966 and then to Ohio. In NY he studied photography at Parsons School of Design. His work as a fashion and still life photographer has appeared in The New York Tomes Magazine, Harpers’s Bazaar, Mirabella, Travel & Leisure amongst other magazines. This is his third solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery.