For his first Hong Kong gallery exhibition, Puerto Rican artist Angel Otero will present Born in the Echoes, a group of new paintings that bring his unique visual language to the forefront. Otero is dedicated to continuing the tradition of abstraction, and 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. The artist references mediums beyond painting, mainly woodcutting and etching, and implements 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 erasing with a cloth, and the negative space ultimately reveals the images. The painting is transformed through the process of its transfer to the canvas; some images are revealed more clearly while others are distorted entirely. Otero’s artistic references—mainly abstract and Expressionist artists of the 20th century—are ultimately accumulated into one coherent gestural abstraction. Otero inserts himself more fully into these collaged works—and the art historic confluence they represent—by scraping into, or drawing over the tableau.
Following Born in the Echoes 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.