Tovar is a Colombian artist; born in Barranquilla, a port city located at the mouth of the Magdalena River on the Caribbean Sea, open to many outside influences.

Tovar began as a self-trained artist but honed his craft during four years of study at the School of Fine Arts in Boston.  Prior to his artistic studies, Tovar was a professional architect, receiving a degree in Architectural Design from the University of the Andes and Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. These three stages defined his artwork.


When analyzing Tovar’s work, the following ideas clearly standout:

The most prominent is the treatment of "chiaroscuro”. Tovar uses light arbitrarily but wisely. He follows the laws of light to emphasize what he considers essential. The rest, the accessory, will be lost in various degrees of shadows including total darkness.


Next is Tovar’s harmonious construction of the composition. This can be seen in the nudes that are always accompanied of well-defined architectural elements such as columns, doors, windows, terraces or tiled floors.


Finally, Tovar possesses a powerful stroke that makes drawing a key element in all of his paintings.

Through the years Tovar has focused his work on several genres. One of his favorites is the “still life” often featuring fruits or oversized vegetables, painted in monochromatic sepia tones from light to dark brown. Defined with very strong strokes, these fruits or vegetables explode with great force after being exposed by a harsh light on a sober background.


Perhaps his favorite work is the female nudes. Women are frequently shown with their backs facing or lying on the floor, always within architectural spaces where doors or windows opening to a distant landscape break the intimacy of the ambiance. Their bodies are perfect and sensual, sometimes tied up as lonely captives without interest in seduction.


From a very young age, Tovar was exposed to and lured by a myth: Federico Garcia Lorca, and his Gypsy “Romancero”. The poet died in his youth and perhaps did not even have time to produce his best work. Lorca, with immense sensitivity and talent, "painted" with his words: blood, death, love, hate, bullfighting, the sun, the dark night, and the moon.


Now, in the maturity of his artwork, Tovar feels prepared to materialize Lorca's poems into his paintings. He has done a magnificent series of semi-abstract paintings expressing the full range of the poet’s emotions using strong and opposing colors in a radical composition in which the empty spaces are equal and perhaps more important than the positive ones. 


Through his paintings, Tovar is able to re-new the sensation one experiences when reading Lorca’s work.

His latest production is devoted to a topic inspired by his youth.  Tovar has profound memories of the mangrove forest at the "Parque de Salamanca" born from the meeting of the salty sea and the stagnant lagoon.  While this unique place has been lost as a bi-product of over-development, his paintings do not try to relive the past but instead depict the desolation of the environment, which is now an infinite cemetery of bare trunks.


He has painted this series with great force and emotion due to this ecological crime of ignorance and inefficiency. These sentiments are translated in his sober and nearly schematic paintings, depicting the systematic repetition of vertical trunks which denounce the desolation of the landscape. In the background one can still see just water, mountains and sky.

Following Tovar's work for several years one is surprised in the variety of his pictorial expressions and often wonders: is Tovar a figurative or abstract, expressionist or hyper realistic painter?


Tovar is all of that at once. For him, the theme dictates how it is painted.


Marie-Claire PIGANEAU

Diplômée de l'Ecole du Louvre

Paris, Aout 2013