ANGEL OTERO ‘Painting from the bottom up’

Artist: Angel Otero

Exhibition title: Painting from the bottom up
Corator: Christian Viveros-Fauné
Dates: 06.03.2015 to 07.06.2015
Place: CAAM – Los Balcones 11. Planta 2. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Produces: Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno. Cabildo de Gran Canaria
Collaborate: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, MAC de Puerto Rico

«Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it». This is US-American artist Jasper Johns’ famous motto, which has become a sort of principle for Puerto Rican artist Ángel Otero (San Juan, 1981). Through a generative art that combines painting and assemblage, Otero creates «oil skins» by pouring pigment over glass plates that he later removes, leaving the skins to air dry and then sticking them to the canvasses. As a final step, Otero adds more oil to these skins, together with other elements, such as spray painting, resin and silicon. The artist has turned this process into his trademark, which leads to an invariable question: is the result of his research a process or a painting? As studio art of the most radical type, Ángel Otero’s work spreads the avant-garde movement of painting into a new era. His art can be summarized in two words: «ascendant painting».

This is the first big individual exhibition of this artist outside the United States. The purpose of it is, on one hand, to highlight Otero’s remarkable innovations, and, on the other, to show something of the intensity that has characterized his surreptitiously normative work. Ever since he made his early series of still natures up to the works that are now called «paintings in the style of Poussin», Otero has devised a way to get totally engaged with his medium, and, at the same time, diligently reshape the past and the present of painting. For example, instead of simply paying homage to the old master, the «Poussin’s paintings» are conceived as a series in development –a conceptual entrance hall– through which the artist goes deep into the painting prior to the Pop style and the sixties. Meanwhile, his process is the spirit of discontinuity and alteration.

Otero’s paintings, developed through a process of creation, deconstruction and later reconstruction, reflect the ultimate conclusions expressed by the art historians Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood in their book Anachronic Renaissance1. According to the exhaustive reinterpretation made by the authors of the relationship between classic art and the period of time where it was produced, the work of art is never confined to an only timeline. On the contrary, it constitutes «a message whose sender and receiver are in constant change»2. Certainly, this idea is coincident with Otero’s instinctive approach to the influence and the reasons of pillage throughout the history of art. Even when the work of art, in our digital era, must give proof of the moment of its production, its connections to other works need to be emphasized –and, even more important, its instability–. That is to say, how it diverts from some present moments and drives back to remote origins, to earlier mechanisms, with the ancestral but fundamental urge of leaving a trace.

(1) Nagel, Alexander y Christopher S. Wood. 2010. Anachronic Renaissance. New York: Zone Books.
(2)Nagel, Alexander y Christopher S. Wood. 2010. Anachronic Renaissance. New York: Zone Books. P. 9.


Inauguration of the current Puerto Rican art exhibitions

Children’s inauguration of current Puerto Rican art exhibitions

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