Porto Cervo, June 28th to August 29th 2019
Louise Alexander Gallery/AFP is pleased to announce the first exhibition of paintings by Latin American artist Salomón Huerta at the gallery. Born 1965 in Tijuana, Mexico, Huerta has lived in Los Angeles since the age of 4. After completing a B.F.A. in Illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Huerta attended the University of California, Los Angeles for an M.F.A. where he found a mentor in Lari Pittman. Inclusion in the 2000 Whitney Biennial gained Huerta international acclaim.
The exhibition is comprised of paintings from the Heads, Gun with still life, Rodin and Pool series. Huerta’s Heads and Figures represent a departure from traditional forms of portraiture. Rather than encountering the subject straight on, the viewer is confronted with the back of his head as if waiting in a queue or sitting in a theatre. By depriving the viewer a glimpse into the subjects’ eyes, Huerta denies an emotional connection between artist and model, viewer and subject. Nor does the viewer learn anything of the subject’s identity, save for vague indications of race as suggested by the skin tones on a closely shaven head or neck. Huerta employs a monochrome ground of richly saturated colour influenced, in part, by his Latino upbringing, as well as his love for glossy magazine design. The meticulous rendering of the work, however, has much in common with traditional portraiture and it is no surprise that Huerta’s portraits look to those of Caravaggio and Bellini for inspiration.
In his most recent series including Rodin and Poolside, Huerta is interested in the act of painting and capturing the physicality of the oil paint. Looking for images and inspirations that allow him to do so. As well he has been attracted from an early age by the work of Rodin, interested in his ability to capture gentle and brutal moments.
In the pool paintings his interest lies in the abstract quality of the water reflecting the trees and the sky.
Overall with both series he is trying to challenge himself to loosen up and to use brush marks that he would usually not use.
Huerta’s paint handling is also looser and messier. Some of his worked-over surfaces seem unfinished. He loves the idea of a painting looking messy from close and coming alive from the distance.
That combination — of passion’s intensity and the emptiness of its absence — has been the subject of Huerta’s art from the beginning, whether he has painted pictures of houses we will never enter or people we’ll never know.