André Martins de Barros was born in 1942 in Pau, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrénées near the Spanish border. He married in 1974 and has two grown-up children.
Andre started to paint from the age of 15 and just after completing his military service decided to devote all his time to passion: Painting. Curious by nature and a perfectionist he has always enjoyed a challenge and one can see that over the years he has constantly experimented with different styles, starting with classic, expressionism moving on to more abstract work and eventually returning to the classic style which currently motivates him.
Was he particularly influenced by great masters such as Rembrandt or Breughel? Evidently. We can also add other names to the list such as Leonardo da Vinci and other great Renaissance artists. As a self-taught artist, he draws from his own imagination while working in harmony with these influences culminating in a very personal style revealing constantly evolving styles and techniques. Working in a classic artist's studio in the small quartier of Montmartre, this very old and picturesque area of Paris, passer-bys can see him at work through the large windows which light the studio. Andre continues to capture their imagintion day after day. Nobody could remain indifferent to his painting. Reactions range from admiration to puzzlement, fright and even shock. Whatever feelings are aroused, nobody ever forgets these original and high quality masterpieces.
From the varied collection of artworks on display the more observant will be tempted to make comparison with Dali, Bosch, Arcimboldo, and other artists. But Andre is none of these or perhap he is all of them. His studies of faces and of nudes can be likened to those of Arcimboldo, while some of the more fantastic imagery is reminiscent of Jeronimo Bosch. Then again, look at his landscapes and you are reminded of the Italian Renaissance style full of whimsical details. His painting are never simple; they tell more than the story depicted on the surface and are often deep philosophical statements in themselves revealing great thoughts, secrets and symbols. They can be poetic or full of humour. Each painting belies more than than one interpretations and in some pictures you sense as he is playing with his characters arranging them as children would with their toy soldiers.
Whether he is using books, bodies, horses or cans, it is all a game. Every painting reveals another aspect of the artist's complex imagination and the style itself is a signature testifying that "this is the word of Andre Martins de Barros, a world of fantasy". Each work is painstakingly created over many wooks, sometimes many months and a meticulous attention to detail and fine brush-work can be observed. Time is a favourite subject which Andre constantly revisits and manipulates in his artwork.This is reflected in paintings where imagery evocative of the middle age is justaposed with the materialism of the present and fantastic images of the future. The artist's ultimate aim is to lead us in his world of dreams and fantasy and in so doing offers us the opportunity to be surrounded by and confront our own philosophical thoughts and beliefs inspired by travels through the subconscious. Experience his work and enter his world.
Text by Christian Germak (translated in English by Fiona Remnant)