Hovey Brock - Art News
Not quite 30 but already showing on four continents, the Colombian-born artist Jaime Franco received his formal and informal art education in Paris. Franco's oil paintings are cast in dark grays and earth tones, and he burnished them to a satin finish by using cloths, knives, and his own hands. The result is work clearly closer in spirit to northern France than to Latin America. Yet the pleasure of these pieces lies not only in their sober beauty but in the way Franco's methodical layering of grids and lines can draw the viewer in.
Franco included some small pieces here but his larger paintings-over six feet high- allow for greater variety in marking and texture. Marco Lombardo(all titles are borrowed from Dante's Divine Comedy) consists of alternating sets of straight and curved black lines on a pearly ocher ground. Closer inspection reveals a small grid of partially obscured dots, and ultimately, a whole new structure.
Wall (Cittá de Dite) combines subtle patterning with a sophisticated tonal quality. It was the most striking work in the show. Dots arrayed in a loose grid cover the entire surface. Near the base a row of dots running into each other establishes a horizon line. Above the horizon the grid expands and contracts rhythmically. Patches of Indian red advance, and competing areas of slate gray recede to accentuate and offset the grid's pulsations. The richness of this painting and others gave solid evidence of Franco's abilities. He is clearly an artist to watch.