15 December 2022 - 9 January 2023

Spanish painter Matias Sanchez has only one true passion: painting. The act of painting is the foundation of Sanchez’s artistic practice, beyond style, subject, and narrative. The self-taught artist was born to paint. While he learned the craft from his father, his great teachers were works by important Spanish and European painters throughout history that he studied in museums and libraries. He has deep reverence for good paintings, and therefore has great respect for his colleagues, who in one way or another, also devoted themselves to painting.


For this reason, he has invited friends and colleagues whose work he appreciates for the exhibition at WOAW Gallery. All the artists in the exhibition are about the use of color, the physicality and sensations of painting. Sanchez works with colors, shapes, and composition until figures and scenery emerge. Cristina Lama and American painter Dan Schein also celebrate this style of impasto painting. French artist Gregory Forstner’s works are deeply rooted in the tradition of painting, shining a light on human nature through his animal figures like a fable. Some paintings tell a story, like Paco Pomet’s precisely rendered painting of a displaced reality. Some paintings celebrate the virtuosity of acting with paint, and sometimes the content takes a back seat, but it is all about painting. Some paintings aren’t even created with a brush and pigment on a canvas, but with needle and thread like Klaas Rommelaere’s tapestries.


The world of painting is so vast and varied, the common thread between this selection of artists is that they share a sense of humour. The title “Smart Idiots” is tongue in cheek and perfectly reflects Sanchez’s wit. While the oxymoron sounds like it doesn’t make sense, many successful people are probably smart idiots - smartly knowing to play to strengths and minimizing shortcomings. The deprecating title also points to the imposter syndrome many of us can relate to. Though to be honest, better to be a smart idiot than an idiotic genius.


Seemingly fun and silly, the title has many layers of understanding to it, much like the works by Sanchez, which are joyful and fun upon first glance. When digging deeper, the viewer will see a certain menace and edge. Deeper yet, one will realize that the act of painting is his core interest. Any subject or narratives that manifests on the canvas is simply the result of the artist’s exploration of colors, shapes, and references distilled from the artist’s decades of dedication to studying history and the arts. Such depth comes so naturally that for him an inside joke about Brancusi or revolution poets are merely the basic tools and building blocks for his painting compositions. The selection of artists will act as a manifestation of Matías’ artistic vision beyond the canvas.