The largely self-taught painter Jorge Santos describes his work as “verging on the bizarre, but grounded in realism.” Santos’s childhood was divided between countries—Angola, Portugal, and eventually the United States—and his consistent sense of displacement developed into a major theme in his paintings; they often feature a slightly exaggerated or disjointed perspective, such that they appear to float on top of the background.
The paintings’ subjects are frequently allegorical, with ironic or humorous undertones. Santos exclusively used black-and-white until 1990, when he introduced a limited colour palette in his works; in 2000, he dramatically changed his approach to colour again, favouring vivid hues. Figures are frequently fragmented, boxed within rooms, cardboard containers, or trompe l’oeil frames. An unusual icon will repeat itself with humorous frequency: a fish, a plane, a train… his characters seem alienated, odd, socially awkward and disconnected.