After reading Ryan Christian’s interview with Jose Lerma, on Fecal Face, I am not surprised to hear that Lerma cites influences across the board, from Pablo Picasso to R. Crumb. The piece above brings Picasso’s Guernica, an artists response to the Spanish Civil War, readily to mind.
In his most recent show in New York, wild abstractions articulated in pen and ink hang next to canvases layered with materials of varied shapes and textures from paint to fabric, creating a visual repetoir uniquely its own. A law-school dropout, Lerma’s work is thoughtful and process oriented, disorganized in nature but methodical in practice. As Lerma describes for himself, in his work he blends his personal life, memories and ideas with history yielding characatures of reality while paying special attention to his materials.
Christian: In my own practice, I am very interested in finding balances between figuration and abstraction. This is something you have been investigating for awhile now with your portrait-esque works. How do approach this balance?
Lerma: It’s simple really. I make something that looks like a portrait but has no likeness. They are small and done very fast, but they are also goopy and thick…a portrait of paint. Then I spend weeks enlarging every aspect of it, and make it maybe 9 feet tall. So it becomes about scale too, a big painting that feels very small. The carpet thing was about walking on a sketch…of a disfigured Spanish king, but It was about being in it.
Article by: Mary Smith