I hide the things I do; I take great care in hiding them. By giving my things the inability to reveal themselves, they attempt to become the revelation of what’s concealing and of what’s being concealed. The things I do manifest frustration; with my art, my writing and reading, my emotional life, the relationships I keep, the ones I don’t, my family and memories, my aspirations, and regrets. In my work, architectural, sober, and mostly white elements obstruct and conceal an experience of color, or prolong the unfolding of an event that just doesn’t seem to arrive. What at first was a keen interest in painting, slowly developed into the realization that my practice equated to facets of who I am that I conceal deliberately and unconsciously. Recognizing this came about in my work precisely through painting: a practice that demands time and requires patience, and an exercise that –above all– demands to redo and to cover-up. 

 

I believe that the traditional techniques of painting have a profound relationship with the notion of veiling or obstructing. For instance, glazing is the superimposition of layers of medium with small amounts of pigment to create translucency and depth. This process requires the painter to go over his previous layers, insistently and inclemently. What the painter essentially does is to repeatedly cover-up the painting with a new one, wholly or partially obstructing the view of the previous layers. The aesthetic object is dis-covered through covering, the painting is revealed through concealing. 

 

My conceptual and instinctual understanding of painting led me to consider painting as a Sisyphean effort since it persistently conceals and obstructs multiple layers to reveal the experience. My work includes paintings completely covered up in newspaper just to be torn-off again, surfaces accreted with material until it falls off, compositions obstructed by a blank canvas over the paint, bodies of work enclosed in a sealed box, obstacles that block the aesthetic experience, things that barely do things, and actions that lead to nothing. 

 

My paintings do not always coincide with what we expect painting to be. They’ve taken the form of two physical instances of concealment, and as gestures of anticipation and frustrated or differed desire. The concealments are composed of an opaque obstruction, solid and thick, and as porous, organic barriers that let some things through, unable to prevent the oozing. They’re my state of mind: a permeable obstruction is gentle, allowing the things on the other side to touch me, and I’m able to accept them for a while; the solid walls let things out differently, they peek, provoke, invite and challenge, but don’t offer themselves, I can never reach them, only observe them and acknowledge their presence. The gestures have taken the form of videos and installations that explore silence in anticipation through poetic and ambiguous situations, dealing with thwarted actions, anxiety-inducing unresolved incidents and pensive, slight, and almost nonexistent events.

 

My paintings and gestures are a form of agalma: a desire, a need to penetrate the pictorial plane, to experiment what the art has to offer. An agalma was the Greek basket where icons were offered in temples; it is the skin, the parergon of things that exist. It’s this packaging that should be enjoyed, it’s what allows us to look for a presumed interior, and in doing so, invites us to enjoy the pleasure of the package, of the skin. But this is a physical impossibility: I cannot occupy the same space as painting; I can only desire it. Painting materializes desire as an object, a plane that suggests a space beyond or a different mental state; this is what is contained within the vacuum of painting. The balance relies on these two dimensions: what is being looked at and what is inside, the experience, the transcendence. The objective is contained within the object precisely so we can enjoy and experience its container, its skin.

 

The things I do barely show themselves. They have a presence and occupy excessive space, but they are hardly there. I’ve made sure that that’s the case. I wish I could just sweep under a rug everything that seeps out of me, or put it in a sealed box and forget about it. But I don’t. Instead, I do things. And then I cover them. I put them inside other things, I erase them, hide them, conceal them. Because I don’t want you to see them. But I also do. I want to know if you notice them. 

May 2018

All works on this website are available under the conditions of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. 

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