Provenance: Private Collection, Manila
Aside from his re-explorations of the Philippines’ colonial past via old photographs, or his social commentaries via the famed madwoman, Sabel, Benedicto Cabrera has done a number of portraits on occasion. For this portrait, Bencab uses a few colors rather than many, and his works assert that fewer colors in an artwork give the art greater force and meaning.
Portraits are, after all, a peculiar amalgam of art and reality, and it presents a person. Like any craftsman, the “interaction” between the painter’s brush and the personality of the subject is made permanent in the final outcome of the portrait. Bencab uses boldness of lines amid the severe neutrality of the background to create an image of the young man, yet straight-forward candor divested of unnecessary details.