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Embassy of Argentina exhibition celebrates the art of portraiture

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Washington, D.C. --- Portraits is an intriguing exhibition now hanging at the Embassy of Argentina by Claudia Samper.

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She is an artist whose paintings are her language for expressing her own vision of the daily world, states Francisco López Achával, the embassy’s cultural attaché.

Samper is an architect by education who moved from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the United States about 20 years ago. She has since developed her expressionist figurative artwork. She had previously appeared at the embassy as part of Tango Visions, a group exhibition featuring paintings inspired by the tango.

Samper is the sole artist of this exhibition which she says showcases her work as a portraitist. The artwork on display consists of a selection from her most recent four series:

The Inside-Out series attempts to integrate persons’ external façades (what they want us to see) with what’s really inside their minds.

Of Friends and Family, she says, is a series of portraits depicting men, women, family and friends.

Her Tribute to Tango series pays homage to some of the most prominent tango composers, musicians and singers who have changed the way tango is perceived and appreciated worldwide.

The Searching for Elmo series, she says, features “a narrative approach where I used Elmo as a metaphor on growing up.”

Human relationships and our own humanity inspire her to paint. “I try to convey these notions in my paintings,” she states. “I look for the interaction between the viewer and my work to trigger a thought or a wonder. I try to paint beyond the physical appearance, beyond the façade, exposing each soul.”

Samper’s fascination with the condition of being human was her natural response for choosing portraits as her major subject matter. Her portraits represent what is missing on the surface penetrating into the façade to extract what is hidden.

“I have always been fascinated with the mysteriousness and the complexity of human nature,” Samper says. “Relationships and daily interactions with people are my sources of inspiration. Kindness, joy, ambiguities, hopes and perceptions are all embedded in my paintings. Making each picture is like a venture, not knowing where I am going to end the voyage.”

“In the process of conquering the unreachable and tell a story I free my energy in each brushstroke,” she adds. “Colors, textures, lines, shapes and composition all work together to express what one could find inside one’s mind, the definite as well as the uncertain.”

Samper says her goal is to create a time and space to encourage a dialogue between the viewer and her work. She looks for this interaction to be able to trigger a feeling, a thought or a wonder.

The exhibition is worth the trip to Dupont Circle! It will remain on display at the embassy which is at 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, through Jan. 31, 2014. Please see the embassy website for details.

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