Conceptually, in this new body of work, Jose Lerma (b. 1971, Seville) is interested in connecting the myth of Ponce de Leon seeking the fountain of youth in Florida with his own personal mythology growing up in Guaynabo (Ponce de Leon’s first settlement in America).
José Lerma‘s works are critical interrogations of viewers’ expectations and desires for painting. What initially appear to be bold, expressionist gestures, slowly reveal themselves as meticulous constructions of colored, silicone caulk–with each rendered gesture then collaged onto the painting’s surface. Lerma functionalizes our contemporary desire for materially, chromatically rich abstract painting as a way to encourage the possibility of a deeper engagement with the motivating content and narrative behind the work.
Claiming that “all art is about other art and about your parents,” José Lermaproduces layered, exuberant mixed-media paintings, combining art-historical and biographical references into compositions at once abstract and figurative, humorous and dark, chaotic and controlled.
Guaynabichean is a pun on the slang word Guaynabicho (jerk from Guaynabo) and Aristotle’s best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics.