Angel Otero

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

Angel Otero standing in front of a wall with sketches
inside of the Angel Otero's studio with his works and sketches
Angel Otero standing and finishing a painting with a brush
5 images

Angel Otero was born in 1981 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Career

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 - unraveling history as he goes. The large-scale abstract works cascade out of their canvases with almost sculptural form, while energetic mark-making and vivid colour palettes evoke 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 created from oil paint. These are then cut, layered and distorted. Otero pulls inspiration from across the arts, history and life, often referring to family photographs throughout his process. By combining these personal archives with formal experimentation, Otero presents painterly fragments of memory.

The artist describes his practice as a process of ‘erasure.’ By submitting personal memories to his rigorous material process, he empties out their original meaning. Thus, his artworks invoke the complex tangles of human memory: both rational memory of the mind, and sensory memory of the body. Following this creative intuition, Otero challenges the medium of painting, and beautifully transforms the world around him into gestures of somatic memory and materiality.

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