Known for his rigorous monochrome works, Robles de Medina combines a consistent, almost mechanical mark-making technique and surface quality, with pictures drawn from a personal archive. Gorillas in the Mountains of Southern Nigeria: World’s rarest great ape pictured with babies, BBC News, 9 July 2020 is a life-size painting showing a group of rare gorillas local to the Mbe mountains of Nigeria. Wary of humans, this subspecies is rarely ever seen. This image was sourced by Robles de Medina from a 2020 BBC article, which stated “…the animals at risk of extinction are actually reproducing…” In what can be described as a reversal of roles, these gorillas are coming out of obscurity and near extinction at the same time that humans around the world are retreating to suppress the spread of COVID-19. The reference to slowed human activity, also points to Robles de Medina’s process. Having spent five months forming the image, his method reverses the low-res image source. In this way, the artist’s paint marks act as a kind of personal base unit for his own measurement of time. Robles de Medina’s approach to painting, particularly in the case of his Gorillas, suggests a deep desire to find meaning outside the digital realm.
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