Born in Santander (Spain), in 1964

Miguel MACAYA's painting is an explosion of light and shadow. A dark background beautifully worked in oil on wood, allows enigmatically to appear his classic themes which are still lifes, animals and characters.
He exhibits regularly in Europe, and recently in the United States and China.


Exhibitions & art fairs


Exposition "Miguel MACAYA et Ivan FRANCO - Un Face à Face espagnol"


Entretien Miguel MACAYA pour BTV



1992 : Work trip to London for the Delfina Studios Trust
1984 : “ Escola Massana ” Barcelona, Spain
1982 : Drawing, painting and sculpture studies in Santander (Spain)

2008 : Casa de Vacas, Retiro, Madrid, Spain ; Carmel de Tarbes, Tarbes, France
2004 : Fondation  Vila Casas, Barcelona, Spain
2002 : Panorama Museum, Bad Frankenhausen, Germany ; Musée d’Almeria, Almeria, Spain
2001 : Fondation Fran Daurel, Barcelona, Spain
1999 : Fondation Vila Casas, Barcelona, Spain
1995 : “ Punto de partida 6 ”, Musée Municipal de Beranga, Cantabria, Spain

France : Paris (Galerie Arcturus), L’Isle sur la Sorgue (Galerie La Tour des Cardinaux) , Metz (Galerie Trinitaires), Annecy (Galerie Chantal Melanson)
Netherlands : Amsterdam (Galerie Vieleers)
Spain : Barcelona  (Jordi Barnadas Gallery, Galerie Cartoon, Sala Pares, Galerie Miquel Alzueta), Madrid (Galerie Jorge Albero, Galerie Jorge Alcolea), Navacerrada (Galerie Nolde), Santander (Sala Pancho Cossio, Galerie Siboney), Torroella de Montgri (Galerie Michael Dunev), Gerone (Galerie Cyprus) , Andorra (Carmen Torrallardona), Valence (Galeria Val i 30)
Swiss : Geneva (Sala Parés, La Cave)

Argentina  : (Design Center Recolata, ArteBA, Buenos Aires)
England : London (Delfina Studio Trust, Galerie Lydia Luyten & Sylvie Vaugham)
France : Paris (Galerie Arcturus)
Netherlands : Amsterdam (Galerie Vieleers)
Spain : Barcelona  (Sala Pares, Galerie Miquel Alzueta, Galerie 3 punts, Galerie Llucia Homs Galerie Artur Ramon ), Madrid (Galerie Jorge Albero, Galerie Jorge Alcolea, Galerie Trama), Madrid (Galerie Jorge Albero, Galerie Jorge Alcolea), Navacerrada (Galerie Nolde), Jerez (Centre d’art), Torroella de Montgri (Galerie Michael Dunev), Gerone (Galerie Cyprus), Casavells  (Galeria Miquel Alzueta)
United States : Berkeley (Galerie Jacqueline Rindone)

Belgium : Art on Paper, Bruxelles; Feria Antica Namur
England: London Art Fair
France : Salon itinérant “ Bazart ”;  Art Paris ; St’Art, Strasbourg
Netherlands : Holland Art Fair 2005, Contemporary Art Center, Utrecht
Spain : Arco, Madrid : Art Madrid

Fondation Vila Casas, Barcelona, Spain ; Fondation Fran Daurel, Barcelona, Spain

BIBLIOGRAPHY  (articles)
Connaissance des Arts, L’œil, Miroir de l’Art, El Pais, Officiel des Arts, Azart, Ed. Alcolea, Ed. Alzueta, Ed. Arcturus



MIGUEL MACAYA – Sight depends on light.

Light is the sine qua non for things to exist, and the decisive factor when representing them. Not even the most elaborate processes making use of optical technologies – such as photography and its extension relating and representing motion, vulgarly known as cinema, or the virtual image on digital screens –  can hide their debt to the simple effect of light as an element of their representational idiom. The plastic arts are sustained by that original fascination linking all vision with its luminous basis. Light is the principle and the required direction for the look : the indication or the orienting signal that points in the direction of certain knowledge. It is also the very reason for error. The light that can be made out at the entrance to the Platonic cave is the same light that projects or represents the shadow of those living in the cave, confounding and fooling them. Truth and lie, the real and the false, they are effects of light.

Light bears the Godly side of things and it is not by chance that the most widespread metaphors relating to the beauty or to the experience of representing it again and again come back to light. For St. Augustine, light is claritas, a sort of resplendence perceptible in the form that attracts our attention, and that guides the fashioning artist’s soul through the vast metaphorical edifice that Plotinius imagined as an emanation of the original One.

Since the unequalled days of Renaissance, painting has always been an elaboration of chiaroscuro, a constant play of contrasts between lights and shadows which provide an illusion of volume and movement on the flat canvas. Since the Renaissance, the act of painting has involved the addition of light to the artwork, producing a clarity that stands out or that springs cleanly from its own shadowy depths, the shadowless object that cannot be seen, that original nothing that we imagine as pure expectation of form. Painting colour, on the other hand, is using the right degree of luminescence in order to situate it within its chromatic register, as for instance happens with Yves Klein’s absolute blue.

But since Goya, one can make use of a tenebrous painting. Or to put it better, painting light that refers to the night, just as ( as in Francis Bacon ) there is a form of painting that can be used to depict what is formless. When painting seems to emit light in order to attract our eyes to the shadows, then we are in the presence of something subime. Miguel Macaya’s painting draws one’s gaze to the sublime precisely because without rejecting light, he makes us look at the dark side of the work : at what we cannot or will not see, the unknown background that he makes his figures look towards when they are turned away from us. You could say that in his most conspicuous pictorial referents, Miguel Macaya’s canvases return oils that nobility that only they can claim : the dark of night, the infinite blackness, the blind reference to where all those questions that art based on light and colour can hardly answer.

By Enrique LYNCH
(Translation : Colm de Burca)

The tempered adversity of Miguel MACAYA’s characters

Miguel Macaya is an original painter in the best sense of the word. What I mean is, a painter who is not just difficult to classify, but even to understand at a first glance, despite his painting having sufficient elements to captivate the onlooker both directly and immediately.

In the group of paintings presented here, Miguel Macaya demands of himself, or accepts – what difference does it make? – the difficult challenge of finding a place, from a modern starting point, in the most profound fluxes of the Spanish pictorial tradition. It would be easy to point out many of his influences, whether old or not, all comparisons would be legitimate and none valid. In the same way, we could mention various contemporary painters working in other areas. These considerations, always uncomfortable and virtually never conclusive, are inevitable where Miguel Macaya is concerned. It is obvious that Miguel Macaya applies his aptitudes for creative activity to a universe of images that obliges us to fall back on our own resources in interpreting them. As I have already said, despite its unequivocal formal beauty, the subject matter of Miguel Macaya’s painting is neither comfortable nor decorative. At first sight, the recurring themes in his work are those of solitude and despair.

These two elements are certainly present in all or virtually all of his works, but they are not limited to this.

In a general way, Miguel Macaya paints portraits, even when the subject appears with its features hidden. Frequently, it is what is hidden that gives the portrait its strength or its expressivity, like the hands reaching in from outside to place a red bandage over the subject’s eyes, or to hold back a dog, not with the conventional lead, but with some sort of reins more suited to the animal’s size and strength. These are hands that restrain without restricting. It may even be that they intervene to help the subject, in order to avoid greater harm. Which makes their appearance even more terrible. Because there is no violence in Miguel Macaya’s paintings. Perhaps there was at some previous time ; however, the evidence indicates that the violence interceded decisively in the subject’s life, but is now reduced to experience, a constituting factor in his personality, something inseparable from his nature.

Beyond this, the subjects make no effort at revealing their essence to us. Some turn their back on the onlooker, or look at him with the gaze of one who while not concealing himself, makes no attempt at letting himself be understood. Although far from being victors, they do not tug at our heart strings.

Miguel Macaya shows them to us using a precise, although not laboured, technique ; looking for truth rather than precision. His portraits have that universality of old, casual pictures, where a car is simultaneously all cars, and the snapshot of a criminal includes all criminels and all crimes. Could this be the final aim of the portrait ? Rather than putting down any specific individual’s features, he permits us to see a human being in this semblance, one made of the same substance as ourselves, although his times and his life’s deeds were very différent to ours, despite embodying something exceptional or something very distant from our own circumstances, like, for instance, absolute power, holiness or madness.

This is the tradition I referred to above, a tradition that conveys one directly to Goya, but also to all the visionaries and enlightened men that have populated Spanish painting for centuries past.

Nonetheless, Miguel Macaya rejects extreme situations, as I mentioned in relation to violence. There is a series of characters whose tragedy is presented untempered : probably madmen brought down. Imprecise details suggest age-old therapies in institutions from other times. Here in these individuels, as in the others, what predominates is what could be called a frugal philosophy which extends to the still lifes, finding its most simple expression in the dogs, and even manifesting itself in the back of an individuel dressed in a laboratory coat who is thoughtfully contemplating some garlic with the attitude of a surgeon. Moments of transition in which, without knowing how nor why, the whole of life seems to be concentrated.

All in all, of the many human and non-human individuels that form this gallery of portraits, only two seem to be posing for a portrait. One is a young man with his arms crossed above a number which identifies him as a participant in some sporting event, probably a race open to all. Although strong of body, he does not look like a professional sportsman.  His attire is contemporary, and slightly vulgar, which deliberately distances him from the timeless, classicist, idealising character usual in pictures of athletics. I would say a tenacious amateur, not a winner of trophies, but not a loser either. He does not seem to have anything special to tell us, with the result that we may find his presence, his natural stance, almost arrogant.

The bullfighter is something else. Without wanting to evaluate his artistic merits, nor establish comparisons with the other pictures in this group, the bullfighter is, definitely, the one that has the greatest impact on the onlooker, and so in some way the one that gives meaning to the group. The painting exudes a balanced dramatism not lacking in subject matter or the anecdotal. We may find the reason in the fact that Miguel Macaya has direct experience of bullfighting. As a painter, he perceives the light and dark shades, the beauty and the cruelty, of the bullfighting ceremony ; but his personal experience allows him to describe not just what bullfighting stands for, but also what it really is. This bullfighter does not represent the grandeur and the misery of the art, but his own. One does not have to be a discerning observer to see fatigue and discouragement in his features and in his gaze. But a more careful analysis will also permit us to guess at memories of certain moments of undescribable intensity, experiences that will stay with the subject throughout his life, even in his most distressing decline. We are not looking at the picture of a failure or of a          victime, but at the picture of a person who fate has first treated well and then badly, who confronted danger with courage based not so much on a lack of awareness as on fatality, and who can now weigh up his life without nostalgia or remorse. If the portrait includes the bullfighter’s costume and ceremonial cape, this is because he does not disown his past, and demands respect rather than pity.

This series of reflections are by way of a reaction to Miguel Macaya’s paintings – not an analysis and even less an explanation. Not because of the old platitude which states that the work of art cannot be explained and reject analysis. Quite the opposite, the work of art demands analysis and ackowledges many, most various explanations, while neither the one nor the other alter its supreme mystery. I beleive that this is the situation regarding Miguel Macaya’s painting.

By Eduardo MENDOZA

Miguel MACAYA 

Francis Bacon acknowledged one day in one of its Talks (1) that it knew much less things than the tables than it combed. It seems that he goes from there from even for the fabrics of Miguel Macaya, for little which one stops attentively on its works, characters or dead natures. It wraps those of one left mystery. As for the faces, it gives them a heart. They fix it spectator of a glance which penetrates it, or they are unaware of it to be absorbed in a strange absence. It is born from it like a faintness: either one feels observed, stripped; either one feels indiscreet. But fascination carries, so much the presence of the subject is strong. The table directs.

The presence is strong, but paradoxically there is always a face hidden in a face of Macaya: a stringcourse on the eye, a spot of shade, an unvoiced comment, a decency. Contrast is besides the key of the work of the artist: figurative and immaterial, realistic and impalpable, luminous and sinks.

Fabrics, built on a report/ratio of shade and of light, let appear a dark and quiet bottom of a black infinite, magnificiently worked with the oil, on which the subjects are detached. No the decoration of background. No ornaments. By means of a set of scientists obscure lights, which is not without pointing out Rembrandt or Goya and the Masters of Spanish painting, Macaya makes spout out the light of the twilight, brightness of opacity, the modulated and intense whiteness of the color sepulchral. The matter is there – grumeaux, light pastings – which slices with impassibility of a kind of glacis glossed.

The complexity of the life is expressed in each one of these fabrics, using symbols. A white plate and vacuum posed on a naked surface said loneliness, the vanity of the things. A fragile nape of the neck evoke the sensuality gently. The faces translate the evil with living. aspect of the characters is at his point more animated. But expressivity is moderated by softness. Strength is serene.

It is of a painting of truth that with of the account it boils acts. Macaya never says too much of it, never too little. Its eye is sober. Its dead natures obey a preoccupation with a modesty which them would reduce to the diagram if the spirit did not come to live them. The spirit? Yes, this same depth, this same intensity that one also finds in faces, and that one can call the grace, or poetry, or the heart.

(1) Francis Bacon, Discussions with Michel Archambaud, éd. Folio, 1996

By Daphne TESSON