The Americas

Angel Otero

Born 1981, Puerto Rico

Angel Otero left his job as an insurance agent in Puerto Rico in 2005 and moved to Chicago on a scholarship to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Shortly after receiving his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Otero was included in the exhibition Constellations at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and was the recipient of the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Visual Arts. Otero’s recent solo shows include exhibitions at Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center. In 2010 Otero’s work was included in a group show at Lehmann Maupin entitled Touched and a group show at LA’s Prism, entitled Misericordia. He is currently based in Brooklyn but divides his time between New York and Chicago.

Philosophical texts, theories of representation, and notions of abstraction inform Otero’s process, but his most central inspiration is personal. Otero’s work is heavily influenced by life in Puerto Rico, his relationship with his family members, and his personal narrative. Instead of representing his life through art, he archives moments within it by creating opportunities of surprise and self-discovery.

Through his innovative process of oil paint scraping, Otero venerates historical oil painting while confronting it head on. Materials such as canvas, desks, dining tables, and frames are treated as sculptural, three-dimensional surfaces utilizing two-dimensional techniques. After painting realistic imagery onto glass, Otero delicately peels off sheets of oil paint and grafts the layers to his object. With his creations Otero says he wishes to “give a sense of abundance, unbalance, ambition, courage, and persistence within form, colour and texture in every painting.”

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