Richard Telles presents new work by Eduardo Consuegra, his third exhibition with the gallery. Revealing new elements in his practice, Consuegra will present painting/collage hybrids, large paintings on canvas, paintings on matte-board, and a cast-bronze sculpture alongside his signature framed magazine collages.
Consuegra produced these diverse works within a series of stark oppositions, pitting past against the present, appropriation against the artist’s hand, and restraint against liberation. The works also function as gray areas of memory recall, spaces between personal memory and a collective well. Consuegra’s painting-collage hybrids, redolent of the traditions of photo-mechanical painting pioneered by John Baldessari, Gerhard Richter, and Christopher Wool, perhaps most overtly work within this zone as a direct result of Consuegra’s experience working at the Pasadena Museum of History. There, he became fascinated by an archive of photographs from 1950’s and 1960’s by J. Allen Hawkins, a local commercial photographer hired by local Pasadena businesses. Consuegra began to see these photographs as units in a memory bank he never had, or as missed encounters with a personal memory parallel to his own. By filling his memory vacuum with these images, Pasadena’s visual history virtually became his, but through a collective well. This constituted Consuegra’s careful rendering of these photographs with paint and juxtaposing them with collaged Latin American magazine advertisements from the 1970’s, allowing the images to float on the painted (and washed) linen synchronically.
This slippage between personal and collective history is reflected back diachronically in the works on colored matte-board. Consuegra dipped sections of them in matching paint, which never achieve exactness. Highlighting the fugitive nature of color and surface, as the boards age they will change further. That with the extreme fragility of the boards themselves leads to an upended expectation that they are traditional paintings on wood or aluminum. Consuegra develops these ideas further in the sculpture on view, which entails a cast bronze space heater perched on top of a wood and wax structure that invites one to sit, yet does not offer a place to do so. The cold bronze masquerading as an object of warmth, lending a false sense of danger to the wax, reinforces this false sense of authenticity that permeates the exhibition until one stops to notice the large oil paintings on display. Consuegra’s loose, but minimally expressive brushwork causes a sudden breeze. It springs from energy reserves built up through his usual undertaking of rigorous matching, rendering, and image calibration. Consuegra created these paintings in a temporary break from the very binaries that made them possible.
Eduardo Consuegra recently participated in the group exhibitions, Banquet of the Jackal at the Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles, and On Forgery: Is One Thing Better Than Another? at LAXART, Los Angeles in 2011. Other group exhibitions include Second Nature: The Valentine/Adelman Collection at the Hammer, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and a two person solo show with Wintergarten, Ltd. at Actual Size, Los Angeles. Consuegra lives and works in Los Angeles.