Angel Otero

Unconventional paintings provide material form for the abstract imprints of memory and history.

Angel Otero (he/him) was born in 1981 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He now splits his time between the island and his studio in New York City.


He began working life as a Salesman, but always fostered dreams of becoming an artist.

At Auction

The artist's auction record was set by oil painting Anachronic (2014), which sold for $121,000 at a Phillips New York in 2018 – more than double its estimate.

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Practice overview

Angel Otero pushes the limits of painting – unravelling history as he goes. Large-scale abstract works cascade forth from their canvases with almost sculptural form, while energetic mark-making and vivid colour palettes evoke the language of Abstract Expressionism. Although the artist considers his work oil painting, it involves a multitude of techniques including collage, assemblage, spray-paint and resin. He has also developed a signature technique creating ‘oil skins,’ which are large sheets of dried oil paint. These are cut, layered and distorted to form new surfaces for expression. Otero pulls inspiration from across the arts, history and life. Often referencing family photographs and memories, he combines personal archives with formal experimentation.

The artist describes his practice as a process of ‘erasure.’ By submitting personal recollections to his rigorous material process, he dissolves their original meaning. Thus, his artworks invoke the complex tangles of human memory. Of the mind, and of the body. Following his creative intuition, Otero challenges the medium of painting – transforming the world around him into somatic gestures of memory and material.

"I don't want my mind to inform my hand, I want my hand to inform my head."Angel Otero