Jose Manuel Ballester’s exhibit reinterprets the Masters

For the first time in the United States, prize-winning Spanish photographer José Manuel Ballester will exhibit his series Concealed Spaces at the Frost Art Museum.

Ballester takes masterpieces like Da Vinci’s Last Supper and Velazquez’s Las Meninas and removes all life, people and animals. By stripping away the narrative, the backdrops of these historical pieces come alive, revealing new layers ripe for interpretation. “In some ways it’s a reflection on art and how it’s understood throughout history,” says the artist, who was trained as a painter.

To create these modern masterpieces, Ballester photographs the paintings and digitally removes all traces of people and their actions. He then meticulously fills in the voids using Photoshop before printing them actual size.

Ballester first started the series when a close friend disappeared. To honor her memory and work through his loss, he took his friend’s favorite painting, Fra Angélico’s La Anunciación, and removed all signs of life.

Concealed Spaces will be on view at the Frost through June 23.