Rafael Yaluff: Prayers at Corkin Gallery

Presented at the Corkin Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District, Rafael Yaluff’s Prayers explores the artist’s psychological and physical journey through the contours of his Chilean homeland and as he began to traverse the international art scene. The exhibition documents his travels on large paintings produced from 2012 to 2019 and examines his mindset as he confronts the socio-political “crisis of his country in the midst of globalization.”  

The Gardener, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 67 x 67 in

Upon entering the Corkin Gallery one is immediately overcome by the massive and imposing landscape scenes depicting the natural growth of untamed Chilean forests. Yaluff’s subject matter, the isolated geographic regions of Chile, communicates a strong will and desire to preserve the spiritual symbiotic relationship between himself and the “raw natural landscape” of his homeland. Derived from his expeditions into remote Chilean regions, his early paintings identify an artist who spent years immersed in his subject matter far from the sprawling bustle of urban population centers.

Millenarian Larch, 2012, oil on linen, 165 x 220 in

Storm, 2014, oil on linen, 94 x 149 in

Conversely, Yaluff’s later work demonstrates a desire to explore the international urban landscape. In his most recent paintings, exhibited at the Corkin Gallery, he explores modern paradigms of consumption, excesses and distorted realities, far removed from but not unrelated to the isolated forested spaces which initially captured his creativity. The threat of overgrowing populations and globalization to the environment and the resulting socio-cultural waste will likely continue to present itself as a recurring theme in Yaluff’s work in the future.

Exorcism pharmacy, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 82 x 69 in

Yaluff’s experiences abroad residing in vibrant international cities (at times described as ‘decadent’) in Canada and Portugal indeed reflect on what has been described as the “culture of consumption” one which the artist adapts in order to depict a “mystical representation of the Latin American city of Santiago.” 

Laundry, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 61 x 128 1/2 in

Yaluff’s paintings continue to project an intimate exploration of his domestic and international experiences influenced by his study of phenomenology as well as German expressionism, Pop art and comics, capturing objects and emotionally compelling spaces and places that have shaped his identity and consciousness.

Keren Sedmina

Images are courtesy of Corkin Gallery.

*Exhibition information: November 27, 2019 – February 2, 2020. Corkin Gallery, 7 Tank House Lane at Distillery District, Toronto. Gallery hours: Tue – Sat 10 am – 6 pm, Sun 12 – 5 pm.

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