With all of the happy-go-lucky music streaming on his portfolio website, you might think that Esteban Corbo's portfolio of art would consist of the sorts of prints you might find on those tacky sales office walls. You know the ones: there are pictures of eagles that sayâ€ Achieveâ€ at the bottom of them, whether or not the thing the person's supposed to be achieving is actually said at all. The mood music aside, the paintings and drawings Corbo has put in the portfolio section of his site are more a smÃ¶rgÃ¥sbord of Picasso, Chagall, Basquiat, Gaugin and Klimt. Yes, it's true that those names are now standard fare for re-prints in doctors' offices (though why in the world would you really put something from the Blue period in a psych ward?) but salesmen tend not to have the sort of mindset for that kind of esoteric imagery.
Corbo's art is at once derivative and relevant, the sort of stuff that comes from the hands and eyes of a person who definitely has studied the great masters (or at least leafed through their art history book) and simultaneously kept himself true to the feelings, sounds and tastes of the current era. His pictures of zaftig latinas evokes cubists at one turn and impressionists the next, without ever truly being complete lift-offs of the style in part because the subjects are so very. . . well, Contemporary.
At the same time, though, one can't help but see glimpses of Gaugin's fourteen-year-old models nearing the end of his career in some of these pieces, and one piece in particular is so close in mood, theme and color palette to Picasso's Old Guitarist that it might be considered an adaptation of the earlier work; but both the position of the subject of the piece (where the man is, instead of drooping over his own guitar, craning his back to look at something in the distance over his shoulder) might be considered more of a great grandchild to the Picasso work. And as such, so it is with us now and in Corbo's work: we are all of us products of the centuries of painters and musicians and artists before us. In his case, at least, we;re both those artists' children and their rambunctious rebels.