Leon Soriano’s Artistic Statement

Photograph of Leon Soriano The major theme of my work deals with humanity in the environment, and my treatment of this subject matter is very atmospheric. I am preoccupied with the human form and the strength of my figures lies in their hands and feet, for humanity is grounded in the earth and our hands toil to provide food and shelter. The figures frequently appear to huddle together, almost cocooned in protection against the forces of nature. Mothers gather their children to them and there is often a feeling of landscapes in the painted backgrounds. Distances are suggested by roads that lead away beyond the horizon, and there is always a disc shape in the sky. This is a hallmark of my work, for it may be the sun, or moon or, perhaps, something extraterrestrial since humanity, although bound to earth, receives hope and perhaps assistance from beyond.

There is much warmth and light in the work and this is especially so because my roots are in Africa. The work frequently incorporates a high degree of texture in the form of collage, texture gels and metallic leaf. When viewing my art, one is drawn into the picture and beyond as if on an unending journey. There is also a strong feeling of ancient African traditions, people tilling the soil, carrying logs, lifting straw, or tending their flocks. I often do not distinguish between the sexes, the figures have no facial expressions - this gives my work a universal appeal.

My work in mixed media includes acrylic, oil pastel, metal leaf, wax and watercolour crayons. The works in oil are normally on canvas and recently I have started etching and particularly enjoy hand colouring the plates using printing inks in a wide range of colours.

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