Review: Angel Otero, "Gates of Horn and Ivory" By Paul Laster
Known for process-based paintings, Brooklyn artist Angel Otero returns to Lehmann Maupin with a succinct presentation of new abstractions as well as his first stabs at sculpture. The large-scale paintings (one red, one black, one yellow) were made by applying images and gestural marks to Plexiglas then covering them with gallons of oil paint. After letting the layers dry, Otero scraped the fabric-like skins of pigment from the Plexi, and collaged them onto stretched canvases. All three abstractions reveal visible splashes of color, with the yellow composition, for instance, distinguished by black splotches and drips rambling across its wrinkled surface.
The standouts here, however, are the steel-and-porcelain pieces. Welding together ready-made window grates and fences, Otero packed the space between the bars with clay—glazing it expressionistically in some cases—before firing the works at temperatures hot enough to deform the metal.
Stacked into towers, Otero’s rough-and-ready pieces evoke the Art Brut of Jean Dubuffet crossed with Lucio Fontana’s expressive ceramics. Much like De Kooning, Otero has developed an approach to sculpture that marvelously complements his poetic style of painting.