About the artist
Juan Luis Goenaga was born in San Sebastian in 1950. Once he finished his studies, and in a self-taught way, he started to make drawings and paintings. In the 1970s he travelled around Europe and came into contact with contemporary artistic trends. On his return to Gipuzkoa, he became interested in the historical Basque past and popular culture, these being the constants of all his production.
When he travels to Italy, with the intention of meeting the masters of antiquity, a new stage in his career begins in which magic, surrealism and abstraction are united.
Generally his work is configured through the observation of nature, with themes taken directly from it, in ochre tones and with a dense and impastoed material. However, in the 80’s he incorporates the human figure in urban settings full of color. During this decade he travelled to Germany on several occasions, and from the influence he received there he incorporated expressionism into his work, distributing the material with violent and intense gestures.
In 1987 he received the Gure Artea prize from the Basque Government. Later, he lived in Paris for a few months while he began his experimentation with different materials (nets, plastics, resins…) and the incorporation of all kinds of objects and elements in his works, seeking a direct relationship with the environment, life and the organic.
The 90s meant a return to his origins, to the primitive, with a dark painting that he distributed in successive layers until configuring a stony structure of marked prominence.
Juan Luis Goenaga has always shown a great concern for artistic pedagogy. In 1993 he gave a painting workshop in Arteleku and in 2003 in the Bilbao Arte Foundation and in the Sala Kubo of the Kursaal.
In his latest creations, which range from abstraction to figuration, he abandons dark tones in favour of the luminosity of the blues, reds and greens distributed with a great deal of material.
Source: Arteder, Basque Art Database. Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
“My studio is an intimate space, smelling of turpentine and oil, where I use all kinds of everyday objects as tools, from pans to cans of cat food. I have natural light, and I am surrounded by stone and wood, vital elements in my personal and professional life. I exchange hours of work inside the studio as well as outside, in the vicinity of where the studio is located, as long as the weather is good”.
First prize on painting "Gure Artea 87"1987
First Prize at Bienal Donostia of painting1985
First Prize Villa de Bilbao1985
"Goenaga's large-format painting is vigorous and direct."
VI Gran Premio de Pintura Vasca1972
San Telmo Museum
XI Certamen Juvenil Nacional de Arte1969
More than 180 individual and group exhibitions in public institutions, museums or private galleries locally, nationally and internationally (France, Germany, Poland and the United States).