Jose Lerma (American also known as Spanish, b. 1972)
Lerma was born in Spain and grew up in Puerto Rico. He studied political science at Tulane and went on to study law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In Wisconsin, a few months shy of graduation, he switched his major to art. Subsequently he was granted a year-long residency in Puerto Rico, and returned to attend Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine before going on to complete the Core Program that is affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX. His work has been internationally recognized at solo gallery exhibitions most recently at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Xavier Hufkens Brussels; and the Galleria Il Capricorno in Venice.
Drawing inspiration from his personal history, as well as historical figures and events, José Lerma incorporates research and an inventive approach to the traditions of painting and portraiture. Using varying methods and alternative materials, Lerma’s gestures and depictions continue to unfold upon investigation––what appear to be bold, expressionist gestures slowly reveal themselves to be meticulous collages of silicone; or almost vibrating acrylic surfaces come into near focus as infinitely layered drawings. Finding ways within painting to collapse the historical and the personal, Lerma functionalizes our contemporary desire for beautifully rich painting as a way to encourage the possibility of a deeper engagement with the content and narrative embedded in the work.