Uslé’s practice reflects on the possibilities of painting. His works possess an intriguing intensity borne from plays of colour and the nuances of pattern and gesture. The canvases in this exhibition, which range from the intimate to the very large, have evolved slowly over days or weeks. Each emerges from the process as a very distinct character.
Uslé’s rhythmic abstractions, constructed with translucent layers of handmade saturated colour, evoke the environs and energy of his homes in Northern Spain and New York City. In his paintings Uslé exploits the nature of opposites: between organic and geometric forms, randomness and order, and the simultaneous physicality of paint and its ability to disappear into sheer, ethereal surfaces and illusions of light.
In many ways the works in this exhibition are images of passing time. Uslé paints with a deliberate slowness, often at night, to the rhythm of his pulse and breathing. The vertical lines in these paintings could be read as intervals between one heartbeat and the next. Uslé’s paintings call attention to the experiential and make us conscious of time and space; through touch and mellifluous surface, they remind us of the importance of our sensory capacity.
Juan Uslé was born in Santander, Spain, in 1954. His work has been widely exhibited internationally, and recent solo exhibitions include: Dark Light, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (2014), travelling to Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) (2014); Nudos y rizomas, Es Baluard, Museu d’Art Modern I Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2010); Switch on / Switch off, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga and Valencia Bancaja (2007 – 2008); Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander (2004); Open Rooms, Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2003); SMAK, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (2003), Ghent; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003- 2004); First Time, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2002); Distancia Insalvable, Centro Cultural Casa del Cordón, Burgos (2000); Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander (2000); Centro Cultural Caja de Cantabria, Sala Luz Norte, Santander (2000). Notable group exhibitions include: 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and Monocromos: De Malevich al presente, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2004). His work is included in many major collections worldwide: Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Vienna Museum, Vienna; M.A.C.B.A., Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Ministère de Culture, Paris; Colección Arte Contemporáneo Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona.