Rafel Joan’s landscapes are contemplative, poetical and almost symbolic. They are about solitude and quietness, the passing of time, the cycle of the seasons, the changes of light from dawn to dusk and the rain or the wind transforming fields, trees and plants. The light in his paintings is always natural, beautiful and bathing the atmosphere with a distinctive sense of peace.
As the art critic Enrique Juncosa states ‘The atmosphere in his paintings is always dense, with earthy tones that are never bright or primary colours. He is a painter of light who represents shadows, sunrises and sunsets, moments of transition. In his artwork there is always some tension arising from the impossibility of embracing the whole from a motionless point of view. This evokes a slightly disquieting feeling’.
He depicts the endless diversity of the atmospheres created by the Mediterranean luminosity. He pictures it like fragments of light breaking into moving particles which float among the tree leaves and branches or at the bottom of the sea. On the canvas, these flecks of light translate into mysterious tiny shapes which look almost alive. He calls them bellumes, a Mallorquian name that defines the fleeting lights seen when closing your eyes after an intense light.
His creations are not realistic but subjective, crowded with almost abstract images which are the artist’s interpretation of what he sees after spending long periods contemplating nature. The focusing in his paintings quickly moves from close-ups to general views, from the particular to the general, and because of that they remind us of the cinematographic language.
Recently he has been exploring new ways of capturing nature by taking notes as he flies in a microlight aircraft. From the distance the shapes of the landscape dissolve, the surface becomes almost flat, the vision almost abstract and his artwork becomes aerial and floating.
He has also dressed in a wet suit staying on the sea bed and capturing the light filtering down from the surface. The way it reflects on fish and seaweed constantly moving in the marine currents. This is a liquid world, chromatically rich, where everything floats and which he translates into almost hypnotic images, abstract and full of detail, painted from memory.
Rafel Joan agonises over his painting, tirelessly wrestling with the images, again and again until the last brushstroke. Then he returns because a tiny spot is not exactly where and how he would like it to be. This is the secret of his creations. He questions his own skills and is greater for doing so. The struggle behind each painting passes unnoticed though. We only see the outcome, the light radiating from the paintings, the fullness and calm emanating from them is pure and sincere; there are no concessions, no lies.
Rafel Joan has been exhibiting in prestigious galleries in Mallorca and Valencia since 1983. In Barcelona he used to show his works at the galleries Metronom and Dau al Set. Since 1993 he regularly holds solo exhibitions at Trama and Sala Parés. He has participated in important shows worldwide and recently the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Mallorca organized a retrospective of his productions at Es Baluard. His creations have been commented by important writers and poets.