In a new collection of paintings called “Luchadores,” Spanish artist Fabian Lainez juxtaposes life-sized black and white portraits of San Antonians with colorful paintings of luchador wrestling masks, making a powerful, visceral commentary. The portraits are of men and women restaurateurs, gardeners, contractors, and a former professional boxer.
“Luchadores” opens with an artist reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at the MBAW Gallery.
Lainez, who moved from Spain to San Antonio in 2012, said he observed “tribal fear of others who are different” in Europe and is troubled that people reject whole classes and races without actually knowing any of them individually.
His anger over the recent resurgence of outspoken racism made him think of the mythic image of the luchador. “That’s what these people are, whether contractors, lawyers or landscape workers,” he said. “They are fighters who come here fighting for their futures and for their lives.”
Lainez grew up in Barcelona learning to carve furniture from his father and studied art and design at the Escola Massana, graduating in 1983. After working in London for several years, he returned to Barcelona to join the Sculpture Department of the Escola de Ceramica de la Bisbal D’emporia. In 2000, he created his own furniture design company, Red and Grey, then 10 years later started a company to create furniture for private clients in Nice, Cannes, Paris, Jordan, Moscow and Barcelona.
Since moving to San Antonio after marrying a native Texan, he has resumed painting and had exhibitions at galleries in San Antonio, Austin, Kerrville, Aspen, Madrid, and in France.