The Many Faces of Carlos Pérez Franco
In the eyes of many collectors, individual portraits and group figuratives always assumed pride of place in Carlos Pérez Franco's oeuvre. No arguments from us, however, the back story may not coincide with what many believe. Deep within the figures and faces explored through his work lay a desire to understand what hid behind the human façade, superficies which for Carlos were no more incarnate than the average building. Core values. Why do humans choose and react as they do? During my thirty year association with the artist, it's safe to conclude that beauty in itself was never a primary aesthetic goal for the artist.
Through numerous tangents, human studies served as an investigative counterpoint to the artist's architectural career. To design appealing and comfortable structures, the architect felt it was imperative that he understand how people actually lived. While socio-economic issues were covered within the degree program, Carlos always believed that there was insufficient material dealing with the people that architects were actually employed to serve. Ask anyone and they'll see they want pretty and big. Frame the question as a serious of base priorities and the answers change dramatically. Comfort and functionality rise to the top for all but the privileged and most fortunate.
That said, many of the portraits are beautiful. While distorted, fragmented and stripped clean of any apparent beauty, there remains a sincerity of expression and a deep understanding of emotional reactions.
Pérez Franco was a keen observer and listener. He enjoyed sitting in cafes or on park benches to absorb movement and interaction. He studied people, how they live, how they react, how they come to the decisions they make for themselves or for those with whom they engage.
On numerous occasions Carlos would sit silently for hours listening to conversations about the architectural requirements of various cultures. Just as the discussion seemed to be reaching a stalemate without conclusion, he'd offer a brief response that not only summarized everyone's positions but crystalized a profound conclusion.