Born in the Echoes
May 26 – July 2, 2016
For his first Hong Kong gallery exhibition, Puerto Rican artist Angel Otero will present a group of new paintings that bring his unique visual language to the forefront. Dedicated to continuing the tradition of abstraction, Otero is an innovator in the genre. His richly textured abstract paintings engage in a dialogue with art historical themes while grappling with the artist’s own history and sense of self. Through innovative techniques and physically engaging processes, Otero continually experiments with materials, drawing much of his inspiration from the inherent qualities of paint.
Otero begins each painting 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 glass surface, draping and collaging it onto large-scale canvases, obscuring the original painted imagery, and resulting in a wholly new composition. Through years of carefully observing the interactions of the material, the artist has forged an individualistic style, while expanding the traditional genre of abstract painting.
The new oil skin paintings presented in this exhibition mark an expansion of focus for Otero, with the artist referencing mediums beyond painting, mainly woodcutting and etching, and implementing some of these printmaking techniques in his practice. Beginning with a layer of paint on glass, Otero marks his line work into the paint by erasure with a cloth, the negative space ultimately revealing the images. The painting is transformed through the process of its transfer to the canvas; some imagery is revealed more clearly while others are distorted entirely. The artistic references Otero gleans from, mainly abstract and Expressionist artists of the 20th century, are ultimately accumulated into one coherent gestural abstraction with Otero inserting himself more fully into these collaged works—and the art historic confluence they represent—by scraping into, or drawing over the tableau.
Following his exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong, Otero will have two solo museum exhibitions in the United States. The artist will be featured in a major survey exhibition at CAM Houston, opening December 2016, as well as a solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, scheduled for 2017.
About the artist
Angel Otero (b. 1981, Santurce, Puerto Rico) received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Recent exhibitions include Material Discovery, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah and Hong Kong (2013); and Angel Otero, Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC (2012); in addition to El Museo del Barrio’s The [S] Files, El Museo’s 6th Biennial (2011); and Queens International 2012: Three Points Make a Triangle, Queens Museum, New York (2012); among others. Otero is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Visual Arts. His work can be found in collections at DePaul University Museum, Chicago; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
About Lehmann Maupin
Founded in 1996 by partners Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, Lehmann Maupin has fostered the careers of a diverse group of internationally renowned artists, both emerging and established, working in multiple disciplines and across varied media. With three locations—two in New York and one in Hong Kong—the gallery represents artists from the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Known for championing artists who create groundbreaking and challenging forms of visual expression, Lehmann Maupin presents work highlighting personal investigations and individual narratives through conceptual approaches that often address such issues as gender, class, religion, history, politics, and globalism.