Raphael Perez is a diverse artist who explores the topic of sexuality, most frequently men , through art and in photos. His males are not always comfortable to view. The elderly, the diseased, and the non-traditional standards of beauty are some of his subjects.
And yet he is able to capture the joy and beauty beyond the physical facades and share that with the viewer. The intimacy and the emotion are almost infectious and one doesn’t want to look away- not because of a grotesque fascination but because of the beauty that is revealed.
While I am attracted to the photographs, because I am particularly fond of photographs, Perez is also a prolific painter with a bold, vibrant and colorful style. His paintings tend to fall into being either portrait studies of an individual or individual idea or panoramas from his imagination. It is his panoramas that draw me- a view of the world from someone who seems in love with it and the people who inhabit it. Where the streets and buildings are only filled with couples and swooning naked figures effortlessly float through the sky, exhaling hearts. He also tackles the idea of obsession- where all of the figures in the gym for example, are the same figure. Have we not all felt this way at some time- plagued by an infatuation? What I find fascinating about these paintings is how easily Perez takes these feelings we may have all had at one time or another and works them into a recognizable visual state.
Unlike artists who rely on the beauty of the form to carry their work, Perez relies on the beauty of the expression within the forms to shine through. His work reveals complex mixtures of emotions and ideas. There is frequently a tinge of something slightly uneasy beneath all of his bright colors. In some ways it is a more difficult beauty to admire- the beauty within versus the beauty without, but looking at the work of Raphael Perez, one can see why it is worth the effort.