Juan Rojo's work has always been rooted in tradition, from Spanish Baroque painters to more contemporary Masters like Lucien Freud or Frank Auerbach. While the paintings still contain allusions to those works, they exist as points of reference instead of the kind of derivative mimicry of his early paintings.
In his new body of work, decoration plays a primary role as an element that intrudes and at times even obscures the faces of the subjects and disguises their identity. Masks and costumes are present in most of the pieces and are used to explore issues of intimacy as well as personal narratives of the models or social concerns of the artist. In the paintings these individual narratives and social commentary are intertwine and are the product of the collaborative process between model and artist that materializes at the photo shoots. There is a playful and trusting relationship between artist and his (always non professional) models that allows the artist to use their bodies as mannequins, as structures to which all sorts of objects can be attached. Some objects are meaningful to the models but others are used just to compose form, color or line. This dress-up process is intuitive and anarchic but also treated with great care and a fundamental part of the artistic process. This playful approach helps Rojo to discover new forms and to deepen his exploration of the figure.
Juan Rojo was born in Valladolid, Spain in 1977. He graduated from the University of Salamanca (Spain) with a degree in Fine Arts and he obtained his Masters degree in painting and video at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is represented in Spain by Rodrigo Juarranz Gallery and by Jay Etkin Gallery in the United States. He has exhibited extensively in the USA and Europe and he is currently living in Memphis, Tennessee.