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Minimal Strokes Applied with a Broom Form Jose Lerma’s Tactile Portraits


To create his thick, summary portraits, Chicago-based artist Jose Lerma trades his brush for hefty, business brooms that comply with the strains of preliminary sketches. “The process of these paintings is laborious. I make my own paint and fabricate my supports. The material is heavy and unwieldy,” he tells Colossal. “It is done in one shot because it dries very fast, so there is a minimal margin for mistakes.”

Lerma’s impasto works proven right here have advanced from his authentic sequence of Paint Portraits, which revealed the overall define of a determine with none distinctive particulars. Wide swaths hint the size of the topic’s hair or neck, leaving ridges across the perimeter and a stable gob of pigment on the finish of every stroke. His forward-facing portraits have a tendency to separate the determine in half by utilizing complementary shades of the identical coloration to reflect both sides of a face.

With a background in social sciences, historical past, and regulation, a lot of Lerma’s earlier items revolved round translating analysis into absurd, childlike installations and extra immersive tasks. “In recent works, maybe due to returning to my home in Puerto Rico and a much more relaxed non-academic setting, I have eliminated my reliance on history and research and now concentrate on just making portraits,” he shares. “It’s an approachable, tactile, and disarming aesthetic, but the absurdity remains perhaps in the excessive materiality.”

Now, Lerma “works in reverse” and begins with a selected picture that he reduces to probably the most minimal markings. “It’s a large work painted in the manner of a small work, and I think that has the psychological effect of making the viewer feel small, more like a child,” he says.

Living and dealing between Puerto Rico and Chicago, the place he teaches on the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lerma presently has work on view in numerous exhibits: he’s at Yusto/Giner in Málaga by means of March 24 and a part of the touring LatinXAmerican exhibition. In April, he’ll be displaying with Nino Mier Gallery at Expo Chicago and in May at Galeria Diablo Rosso in Panama. Until then, see extra of his works on Instagram.


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