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José Luis Valverde uses vegetation to address the passage of time.
José Luis Valverde uses vegetation to address the passage of time. / SUR

An artist seduced by dark themes and dark ideas that help him to paint

  • José Luis Valverde is exhibiting a powerful pictorial project about the passage of time at the Galería JM

Jose Luis Valverde’s grandfather, José Valverde Jiménez, made tombstones and painted because he was a mason and artist. As the latter, he played a notable role in the Granada scene of the last century along with artistic comrades-in-arms such as José Guerrero and Gabriel Morcillo.

Jose Luis is also an artist, and is exhibiting his own work in Selva del Tiempo, a series of paintings created over the last few years reflecting issues such as death, the passing of time and our fleeting existence, at the Galería JM in Malaga.

“From 2019 until now, I think my work has followed a conceptual logic. I have always referred to the genres of painting to somehow pervert them or transform them into something else that is mine,” explains José Luis.

If the grandfather was an ‘amateur’ painter in addition to a mason, it seems that his grandson has professionalised the former and recovered his fondness for tombstones... “But, above all, for what may be under there, a whole world of possibilities that in the hands of the artist is made of oil paint and has an ironic aftertaste of disturbed earth, for the forgotten breath of the inhabitants of a dark and fertile mud, anticipating the moment the bugs start to feast,” says the text that accompanies the exhibition.

“I have always been seduced by dark themes. That tendency to refer to dark ideas, with a much more existentialist charge, helps me to paint,” admits José Luis, who for this project has also made use of a notable influence from literature; specifically, from Victor Hugo’s What the Talking Tables Say.

The protagonist of the tale organises séances to talk to the afterlife, which José Luis brings to a vigorous and fertile hereafter in each brushstroke: “I speak of death without moral intentionality. I like to go to places that are taboo. That is where I feel most comfortable,” he adds.