The Galerie Nathalie Obadia is pleased to present the new series of paintings by Enoc Perez during its fourth collaboration with the American painter born in Puerto Rico in 1967.
While the two last exhibitions organized by the Galerie in Paris in 2013 and in Brussels in 2011 prevalently presented the artist’s architectures and sculptures inspired by the modernist utopia, his nostalgia for Puerto Rican culture and the atmosphere of the grand hotels, this new exhibition is a collection of female portraits with an intentional Picassian influence, characterized by direct citations of paintings by the modern master, and an open tribute to the artist who was also a great lover of women.
“In these paintings, Picasso’s body of work becomes a pictorial genre, like portraiture, landscapes and still lifes”, explains Perez, who used photographic self-portraits posted by women on social networks (Instagram, Twitter) as the basis for his variations on the work of Picasso. Anonymous faces, new digital muses metamorphose into Olgas, Marie-Thérèses, Doras and Jacquelines in the silvery, monochrome palette of Enoc Perez. This approach is founded on resolving the contradiction between the feminine manner in which the women present themselves and the resolutely masculine gaze that Picasso cast on his subjects, which alternated between desire, cruelty and tenderness.
“For me, painting has the capacity to offer conflicting visions of the world while preserving its power”, explains Perez, who, with this new series of paintings, attempts to reinvent Cubism in the moment of Instagram, Facebook and other social networks.
“Like many other artists – Lichtenstein, Julian Schnabel, Richard Prince and many others – I always wanted to paint my own Picassos, I just had to find a means”, he says. “I wanted to represent the photos and paintings with a certain aggressiveness, in a very direct manner but without cruelty: and it had to resemble our moment in time”.
Intensely physical, these portraits of women made with a saturated palette, the pictorial matter hatched and scratched, reveal the long investment put into their creation, with layers of paint added in the manner of silkscreening. The nudity of the bodies is lost in the pictorial palimpsest that gives up an image rendered in deep, electric tonalities like an engraving.