Drawing II based on 'Otho, with John Larkin up' by George Stubbs (1986)
Graphite on paper
Donated by Amador Perez 2000
ESCALA holds two drawings by Amador Perez, each investigating Otho with John Larkin Up, a 1768 oil painting of horse and rider by the celebrated English artist George Stubbs. Perez re-draws this painting precisely in order to reveal the two motivations that led to its creation: pride and romanticism. These two principles are revealed via alterations to Stubbs' original composition.
The Stubbs painting, which is now part of the Tate collection, was commissioned to celebrate Otho's success, having won several victories at New Market in 1767: the last year of his racing life. Stubbs made his living, largely, from the pride of racehorse owners. However he also used this as opportunity to exercise his skills as a romantic painter. The painting, Otho with John Larkin Up, itself uses background to dramatic effect by describing tense climatic conditions. Horse and rider are in sunlight, while dark shadows in the foreground and clouds in the background foretell an oncoming storm.
In the first drawing Perez uses a grid to examine the classical proportions that ruled the placement of Otho and his rider within Stubbs' painting; thus he reveals the language of classical grandiosity requisite to an 18th century commissioned depiction of horse and rider. By duplicating and re-placing the figures across the scene he also rubs out this value and, with smudged graphite clouds, exaggerates Stubbs' subtle, romantic, atmospheric affects. The two drawings are part of a series of ten studies after Stubbs' painting. The technique of using patient re-drawing in order to reveal conflicting values and motivations within celebrated European paintings is a consistent motif in Perez's work. Two contemporaneous series perform a similar labour in relation to Die Toteninsel by Arnold Bõcklin and Répétition d'un ballet sur la scène by Edgar Degas.
Isobel Whitelegg, 2008