Oleo / tela
51 x 41 cm COR012
This arrangement of relatively conventional still life objects may in fact conceal a self-portrait of the artist. In the foreground, a bust rests on a podium, occupying the foremost plane of the picture space. Just behind the bust, a chessboard rests against a heavy red curtain, one of the portrait genre's conventional framing devices. Orozco Romero's experimentation with spatial distortion and dislocation is heightened by the bowl of fruit that rests on a tipping surface on the right side of the composition. Shades of chalky white to ochre and a warm brown shadow give the face of the bust curvature and depth. The eyes are rendered as blank almond shapes, and though the bust is angled to the left, the dark eyes create the illusion that they are gazing at the viewer. A wedge-shaped shadow shifts the angle of the bust's nose. A final unidentified shape, colored a warm shade of brown, protrudes behind the bust's left ear. In combination with a soft shadow that hovers just above the bust, this form "tricks the eye," creating a profile remarkably close to Orozco Romero's own (see, for example, Self Potrait, Room 3). These elements, in combination with the brown plane on the left side of the face, evoke the superimposition of the artist's shadow upon his still life. A similar effect was rendered even more explicitly in his Self Portrait of 1956. Justino Fernández titled this painting Abstraction, which if accurate, only reinforces the possibility that this still life was not just an arrangement of objects but was a metaphor for the freedom of the artist's imagination. As we see in works such as Tamayo's Still Life With Foot (Blaisten collection), the still life genre was an important vehicle for artists of the Mexico City vanguard who returned to easel painting as a medium well suited to free, autonomous creative expression.