For his third solo exhibition with Lehmann Maupin, Puerto Rican artist Angel Otero will present a group of new paintings. Dedicated to continuing the tradition of abstraction, Otero is an innovator in the genre. He begins with a reference to an object or image that holds personal or historical significance, and then abstracts the reference through his process-based approach, resulting in work that is visually autonomous from the original imagery. The artist will be present for an opening reception at the gallery on Saturday, November 7 from 6-8PM.
The result of constant experimentation, Otero’s paintings begin by reproducing reference images in thick oil paint on a large plate of glass. Once the paint is almost dry, the artist scrapes the “oil skin” from the surface, flaying, draping, and collaging it across a large canvas, resulting in a wholly new composition. In past work, the paint more dramatically creased, pinched, and folded as the artist piled layer upon layer of oil skins on the canvas, further abstracting the image.
While he previously began with reproduced iconic paintings as a way to engage with the history of abstract art, these new works demonstrate Otero’s relationship with the medium of painting more generally, rather than his relationship to art history or one specific artist. The original source image is no longer relevant in the outcome of the final artwork. As a result, Otero refines his unique visual language by exploring the relationship between representation and abstraction in order to expand the traditional genre of abstract painting.
Otero draws inspiration from literature and music, as well as personal memories, photographs, and family memorabilia. In addition to Old and Modern masters, Otero has also cited Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Arto Lindsay, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jeanette Winters, as influences of his practice.
Otero’s work will be the subject of major solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston in 2016 and at the Dallas Contemporary in 2017