Greek philosopher Plato said the following about composition in art “Find and represent the variety within the unity” and that is what Salas has been imbuing into every one of his still life paintings. Always pushing the boundaries of his work to create variety but at the same time, keeping it confined in order to visually unify it.
Salas was born in 1977 in one of the districts on the outskirts of Lima, the huge capital city of Peru. He remembers vividly his early fixation for the neoclassic and baroque architecture of the colonial churches of Lima’s historic downtown. He used to wonder how the architects were able to create visual harmony in such complex buildings.
When Salas was nine years old, his father enrolled him in a summer art course. During those two months, Salas started to draw but, most importantly, he visited an art museum for the first time – an experience that greatly impressed him and subsequently changed his life. Every week, after the art lessons, Salas began to take long promenades along the hallways of the museum trying to understand what were the skills needed to create those amazing paintings.
In one of the frequent visits to his grandfather Francisco’s house, Salas stopped in the middle of the living room to observe a series of colorful still life oil paintings hanging on the walls. His grandfather noticed his newly born interest and told him that the painter was a friend of his.
Somehow, Salas got enthralled by those paintings and, for years, would go every other month to his grandfather’s house to observe and study them.
Later, when Salas was about to finish high school, his grandfather introduced him to the painter who created the works of art that had captivated his mind for several years. In a long talk, where Salas understood that painting could be a life path, his grandfather’s friend advised him to study painting in the School of Fine Arts of Lima.
Roberto Salas studied six years in the School of Fine Arts of Lima and fell deeply in love with the Chiaroscuros of Spanish painter Diego Velasquez, the exuberant dynamism of Peter Paul Rubens and the exquisite composition skills of contemporary Peruvian painter Gerardo Chavez.
Salas first works were still-life paintings of flowers and fruit but the artist soon shifted his attention to man-made objects with light reflecting surfaces like bottles and glasses.
In the latest series of Salas paintings devoted to wine and cheese, every object plays a crucial role in a complex composition scheme that usually takes days for Salas to unravel.
Salas work has reached a level where it cannot be classified strictly as realist because some of the details in his renderings recall painting techniques and visual approaches that are more similar to hyperrealism.
Roberto Salas paintings emerge from a continuous effort to carefully find new angles and composition schemes to portray the objects that compose our reality in a unique and pleasant way.
Salas has participated in several exhibitions in Peru, including: Centro Cultural Escuela de Bellas Artes de Lima (2000); Davila Art Gallery, Hotel Marriott, Lima, (2002); Club de la Banca y Comercio del Peru, Lima (2003); Congreso de la Republica del Peru (2005), Hotel Las Americas, Lima, (2007) and Noche de Arte de Lima, USA embassy in Lima, (2009).