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Barcelona, Inside Out

The paintings in this exhibition are a love letter to Barcelona. The selection is a summer series, created during the late spring and summer of this year, up until the end of September. This exhibition will be on view from 4 October until 3 December, 2018 at “La Revolta del Clot“, Barcelona. 

Inside Out

 I would like to invite you to consider what the phrase “inside out” means to you.  In English, when we say we know something “inside out”, it means that we know something completely. And perhaps it also suggests where one is physically, now you are inside, later you outside. Most of the paintings in this exhibition are cityscapes, outdoor scenes, but a couple are interior scenes, “The Balcony” and “The Dream”. When I think of this duality “inside out” I think of physical location, indoors, outdoors, in the city and then away from it. On an interpersonal, relational level, sometimes we feel we are inside, belonging to something, enveloped in love, and sometimes we feel we are outside, alone, solitary, perhaps lonely, or perhaps content in one’s solitude. In naming this exhibition “Inside Out”, I also invite you to consider for a moment the natural flow of life energy which originates with the breath. Breathing in, breathing out, taking in, receiving, and letting out, letting go, giving. This life energy, or Prana as it’s known in Hinduism, “Prana”, inward moving energy, “Apana”, outward moving,  permeates everything, animate and inanimate, and manifests in what the Catalan Humanist and Musician Pau Casals termed the  “infinite variety” of physical forms which this painter delights in painting as a form of praise and a means of connecting.

How these paintings came to be, the inspiration…

Many of these paintings are cityscapes, but that was not the original plan. My original plan for the summer was to travel north with a portable easel, paint kit, tent and bicycle and go on a real painting adventure. However, I soon realized that I would not have the money to go anywhere during this summer break and would be confined to the city! “Haha! Typical “artist!”, I told myself, “Head  in the clouds, full of romantic ideas, and  pockets full of nothing!” Indeed, the only coast I would paint was to be the Barceloneta beach! After my initial feelings of disappointment and deprivation over not getting what I wanted, an idea came to me, “Paint Barcelona! Find that beauty here where you are and really celebrate and show it in your pictures! Look again, because that beauty is there, always is and always has been!  Accept this situation you are in right now and have fun with it! Explore a place you’ve never been to and revisit some of the places you know so well that you don’t even see anymore. Yes, some of these places are touristy, but they are touristy for good reasons. And yes, it’s true that they are for the tourist but they are also for you to enjoy too, with the right point of view you can do that!” Well, that was enough for me! I soon became very inspired.



No beginning and no end

I started with the painting of the port. I’d never seen the port from atop Montjuic at sunrise. I got up before dawn one Sunday morning and went there on my bicycle and painted there and then had a little picnic breakfast I had prepared. How wonderful that was!  Next was Arch de Triomf, then Montjuic, then Park Guell, and so on.  So much beauty, so little time! Finally, I did have an exciting and fun painting adventure this summer which I hope is reflected in these pictures. It’s not the one I had in mind, but you know what? It’s even better. And it’s not finished.

The Beauty of the Ordinary

Through painting, I try to show the beauty of the ordinary and the sacred in the everyday.  For me, this is the true reality located behind the veil of physical appearances. This reality begins to show itself when we are quiet inside. Painting has always been a way for me to connect to my center or inner-truth.  There is a peace and transcendence I experience in any situation when I am connected in this way and then in turn I feel more connected to the external world. It is then that I see beauty  in everything and everyone, without exception.
Thank you for your kind attention,
Robert Froh
October, 2018

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