These latest portraits by Victor Mashaal take his exploration of contemporary humanity in new and exciting directions. Having already shown his affinity for the endless possibilities of the human form in his well-received debut earlier this year, the obvious energy and engagement of these fresh works explains why a new exhibit by this emerging montreal painter is very much in order.
For this second solo appearance, Victor Mashaal does not merely engage with his subjects, he seems to pluck them from the crowd and thrust them centre stage with boldness and intensity and despite an almost total absence of props or adornment.
Victor Mashaal employs very little apparent artifice to achieve his aims, preferring to face his subjects head on and to paint them with that same direct approach, a technique that may owe something to his many years and successes in the business world. Combined with his lifelong art studies, the resulting images reflect both his sensitive reading of his subjects while at the same time ceding nothing to his primary goal of artistic truth.
The result is a signature style that seems to incorporate both the reductive line of oriental calligraphy with the brutality of western street art; one might characterize them as painted drawings. Figures outlined in broad black strokes, details reduced to shorthand blurs, there is an urgency in the depiction of these figures, yet their humanity persists. These figures are not afraid to make an impression. Nude or clothed, they insist on being present and accounted for.