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In Heavy Impasto Paintings, José Lerma’s Introduces Background Figures to the Fore — Colossal



Art

#acrylic painting
#art history
#Jose Lerma
#painting

December 2, 2023

Kate Mothes

“Leo” (2023), acrylic on burlap, 32 x 24 inches. Photos by Nicolas Brasseur. All images © José Lerma, courtesy of Almine Rech, shared with permission

In just a few deft swipes of thick acrylic paint, José Lerma creates richly contoured portraits that, like a silhouette, impart enigmatic impressions of figures whose full identities remain a mystery. In the artist’s third solo exhibition with Almine Rech, he continues to explore the material quality of acrylic paint (previously), which he applies in a fast and laborious process before it dries. Delicate, flat outlines portray noses, lips, and brows, which the artist augments with heavy impasto paint for hair and accessories. The medium often collides along central seams, separating light from shadow, and extends right up to the edge of the canvas.

The title of the exhibition, Fichureos, draws on a Puerto Rican colloquialism formed around a Spanish interpretation of the English word “feature,” used to reference ostentatious or pretentious displays. Lerma also looks to art history, fascinated by tertiary characters in the backgrounds of paintings that have been rendered in loose, minimal brushstrokes. Combined with the concept of facture, a term used to describe the handling of paint or quality of an artwork’s execution, Lerma embraces “fichureos” as both subject matter and philosophy.

If you’re in Paris, you can visit Almine Rech’s Turenne location to see Fichureos through December 22. Find more on the artist’s Instagram.

 

A detail of thick impasto paint in shades of pink, brown, and green.

Detail of “Leo” (2023)

An acrylic painting of a minimal figure with short hair, using heavy impasto paint.

“Mina” (2023), acrylic on burlap, 96 x 72 inches

An acrylic painting of a minimal figure in profile, wearing a striped headband, using heavy impasto paint.

“Solandi” (2023), acrylic on burlap, 72 x 48 inches

A detail of thick impasto paint in shades of blue and brown.

Detail of “Solandi” (2023)

An acrylic painting of a minimal figure with blonde hair, using heavy impasto paint.

“Liana” (2023), acrylic on burlap, 48 x 32 inches

Installation view of two paintings in a white-wall gallery space. The paintings show minimal portraits of female figures in profile.

Installation view of ‘Fichureos’

Installation view of two paintings in a white-wall gallery space. The paintings show minimal portraits of female figures.

Installation view of ‘Fichureos’

#acrylic painting
#art history
#Jose Lerma
#painting

 

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