Vibrant and evocative abstract paintings by Emilio Perez will be presented in the artist’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Lelong. Perez combines freeform patterns with a highly meticulous process to create works that display an innate understanding of color and movement. Interpretations of the work are as diverse as Perez’s influences – elements from animation, music, woodcuts, and the Baroque inform his practice. The exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, September 6, from 6 to 8 pm, and the artist will be present.
Perez’s distinctive method involves applying layers of paint to a wood panel and then using a knife to slice and remove pieces of the top layer, revealing the colors underneath. The results are complex compositions that read from afar as strictly graphic yet, at closer view, are elegant, intimate, and with a strong sense of depth and texture. Across the surface, quiet, sparsely cut areas will shift into frenzied, tight spaces of dense patterns. Large, undulating lines are interwoven with harsh, staccato breaks, and the striking nature of the artist’s marks is offset by a use of muted colors. These visual juxtapositions create a palpable sense of energy, and, physically and psychologically, the viewer is continually pulled into the plane and released.
Interpretations of what is amid the organized chaos are deliberately varied. The abstractions can be read as representations of harmony, conflict, nature, urban life, freedom, confinement, invention, or subversion. They can be viewed as records of physical movement, brain activity, or emotional shifts. The imagery compels the viewer to make unique and personal associations, emphasizing the character of the work which is potent, poignant, and alive. The artist’s enigmatic titles – doin the sleepwalk, heading for a fall, just two ears just two eyes – add a layer of humor and ambiguity.
These new paintings mark Perez’s first major solo exhibition in New York. His work most recently was featured in the exhibition “abstract 2.0” at the Filiale in Berlin, and he has exhibited in Canada, Italy, Norway and Israel. In 2006, he completed a large-scale commission for the law firm Kirkpatrick Lockhart Nicholson and Graham in Washington, D.C.