Juan Uslé: Al Clarear
Juan Uslé’s idiosyncratic abstractions, constructed with translucent layers of handmade saturated colours, evoke the environs and energy of his homes in Northern Spain and New York City.
In his paintings Uslé exploits the nature of opposites: between organic and geometric forms, randomness and order, and the simultaneous physicality of paint and its ability to disappear into sheer, ethereal surfaces and illusions of light.
This exhibition includes paintings from two on-going series of work; Soñé que Revelabas and In Kayak, both of which could be seen as distillations of landscape and memory; with their subtitles referring to rivers and lakes which fascinate Uslé. The very large paintings in Soñé que Revelabas (which translates approximately as 'I dreamt that you revealed') are composed of repeated brush strokes; visible traces of the artist’s hand and its physical activity. The effect of these works is highly meditative, made as they are at night, with the rhythm of the brush corresponding to the artist’s own pulse.
The small works in the In Kayak paintings provide a counterpoint to Soñé que Revelabas and in their titles they refer explicitly to the artist’s experience of water. Uslé describes them having come out of journeys in his kayak from the sea as far as the navigable limit of the Rio Cubas near his home in Cantabria. The horizontal bands of lines combined with Uslé’s characteristic marks may refer to distant embankments and shimmering water courses, but in the end these paintings are not a window on the world rather an area of dialogue which the artist probes and explores, sometimes leading viewer into a labyrinthine space but still leaving the way open to interpretation.
Juan Uslé was born in Santander, Spain, in 1954. His work has been very widely exhibited internationally, recent solo exhibitions include: Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (2014); Nudos y rizomas, Es Baluard, Museu d’Art Modern and Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2010); Switch on / Switch off, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga and Valencia Bancaja (2007 – 2008); Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander (2004); Open Rooms, Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2003); SMAK, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (2003), Ghent; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003- 2004); Cheim and Read, New York (2002); Distancia Insalvable, Centro Cultural Casa del Cordón, Burgos (2000); Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander (2000); Centro Cultural Caja de Cantabria, Sala Luz Norte, Santander (2000). Notable group exhibitions include: 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and Monocromos: De Malevich al presente, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2004). His work is included in many major collections worldwide: Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Vienna Museum, Vienna; M.A.C.B.A., Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Ministère de Culture, Paris; Colección Arte Contemporáneo Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona.