Victor Hugo Zayas’ paintings are, what I like to call, ‘samatva’. ‘Samatva’ in Sanskrit means in balance. This concept is ever more prominent in Zayas’ painting Illuvia. With dark tones and thick brushstrokes, Illuvia is a balance of observation and abstraction. Zayas paints the cityscape as it is, but also distorts the fixtures by changing the tone, color, and the overall mood of the painting. Peter Frank, editor of Visions and an art critic for Los Angeles Weekly, remarks
“Zayas’ canvases are distinctively modern in their cinematic bravado, but in their evocation of the old masters and their obvious indulgence in painterly physicality, they provide us a respite from the featureless anonymity of the computer screen.”
lluvia depicts an unidentifiable cityscape in bold colors, and you can really see that “painterly physicality” that Frank mentions. Though the stillness of the city is somewhat eerie, the fiery glow of orange hues provokes a sense of spontaneity – the ever glowing energy of a city, bustling about with busy streets. While looking at this work, one gets the feeling that things are happening at every moment. A beggar steps out of the shadows to ask for change, while a young man beats a plastic bucket drum. A businessman shuffles by them. He avoids eye contact and sidesteps a skateboarder. Taxi’s honk and swerve on the streets, each jostling for a better position as they carry their passengers off to their daily grind. One passenger tries to drown it all out as she plays her upcoming interview in her head over and over. All these moments make a city life, and I see them captured in Zayas’ thick and busy brushstrokes. This is why I find the central theme of
Illuvia to be the passing of time; the black shadows indicate the humdrum of city life, while the orange flares hint at the exciting changes that can occur at any time. Completely in balance, Illuvia illustrates both the stagnancy and action that occurs in the moments of time that pass us by.
Born in Mazatlan, Mexico, Victor Hugo Zayas came to the United States in 1977 to study art at the United States International University. Later on, he studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Zayas went on to a successful career in art. For six years, he taught at Loyala Marymount University. Zayas now owns a successful art studio in Los Angeles, which hosts frequent exhibitions and hosts many of his dynamic works. More about Zayas and his work can be found on his website.