If there was ever an example of the global spread and phenomenon that is Pop Surrealism and Lowbrow, we can look no further than the works of Luciano Sanchez. Born in the late 1970s in Granada, Spain, Sanchez ironically was influenced by a movement happening on the West Coast of the United States in the 1960s and ’70s. Spain, of course, has its rich and textured art history, but Sanchez looked as far West as he could to find inspiration. The likes of R. Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, and Juxtapoz founder Robert Williams galvanized his creative spirit, budding into what he calls “Urban Surrealism.”

For his new solo show at Brassworks in Portland, opening March 11, 2023 it seems perfect that Sanchez finds himself on the West Coast, in the land of Mark Ryden, creating paintings that touch on Kustom Culture, underground comix, and a sense of psychedelia that captures the mood of the world-at-large. Though Sanchez says that his work is “mixed with a dose of pessimism and post-apocalyptic connotations,” there is a very playful aspect to the work. Playful pessimism may be the optimum descriptor. Like another fellow Granada painter, the brilliant surrealist Paco Pomet, Sanchez enlarges the viewer’s perception of reality while simultaneously creating something familiar to grasp. Swirling about the madness of the times at hand, Sanchez gives us something to think about. —Evan Pricco