by Carla Harms
For an artist who has only been painting for 10 years, Eduardo Newark has a keen sense of how to translate the complex thoughts circulating inside his head into brilliant images on his canvases. “I’m really a shrink”, he quickly confesses to me in our interview at his sunny studio on Chenaut in Las Cañitas, insinuating that his day job in some way overshadows his talent as an painter. But Newark is an artist in every sense of the word. There are those who can paint, but don’t have stories to tell, and then there are those who have great ideas, but not the painterly skill to execute them. Newark has both of these in strides, and his complex acrylic paintings belie the number of years he has been putting brush to canvas.
“It’s as if I have a wife and a lover,” he says of his roles as psychoanalyst and artist. “This is my lover,” he says proudly gesturing to the work that surrounds us. There is a painting of a man in swimming trunks and goggles who swims on a table surrounded by measurements mapping out the amount of space he needs to make the strokes. In another a man sits alone at a table with an empty plate in front of him and a cow’s head beside him. Like the swimmer out of water and the cow that you cannot eat, the notion of the impossible is a major theme running through Newark’s work. He likes to play with putting things out of context: a man drinking coffee at a café with a baby on the table behind him, a guy in a swimming pool fully dressed and holding a lollipop, and a woman lying on a checkered table cloth having an orgasm amidst baking ingredients.
While he claims his work as a psychoanalyst and his work as a painter have nothing to do with each other, I found that his canvases served as an obvious visual meeting point for both realms. Save one or two exceptions, all of his paintings include people. Delving into heavy themes such as loneliness, group dynamics and power, he executes works that explore the human condition in a manner that is tongue in cheek. Mafia members that might be menacing in another context here become somewhat comical. “I like these tough characters,” he remarks with a chuckle, “They spend their lives striving for power.” Rendering these complex themes in a whimsical way, he forces us to look past the images on the canvas at our preconceptions about people, and ultimately, at ourselves.
Eduardo Newark’s exhibition Pinturas opens at Galería Thames, Thames 1771 (y Costa Rica), on Thursday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through December 6.