Eduardo Portillo


Press Release

 Galerie Richard adds Eduardo Portillo in his roster of represented artists and exhibits his works for the first time in New York City from June 27th to August 31st in a solo show entitled Slanted + Over–Lit. Eduardo Portillo was born in El Congo, El Salvador in 1986, and currently lives and works in Houston, Texas. Portillo’s paintings relate as much the literal edges than the surface of the pictural plane, realizing his personal desire to deviate from the rectilinear into real space. From his beginnings, he has been developing a specific aesthetics based on protrusions, “dents of resistance” which point out in unexpected parts of the canvas as if the material itself had the last word. His work is also about light, space, and color.

 

Probably in reaction to the flatness of digital screens that humans watch in average eight hours a day in developed countries, artists and art collectors get more involved with three-dimensional paintings in the 21st century. Galerie Richard has been following this development by exhibiting Bram Bogart, Takesada Matsutani, Norio Imai, Frank Stella, Ron Gorchov, Jud Pfaff, Linda Besemer, David Ryan, Sven Ole Frahm, Laurence Papouin, and recently Koen Delaere. When the gallery participated in Texas Contemporary Art Fair, the gallerist was stuck in front of one exhibited work by Eduardo Portillo and he thought, “I’ve never seen something like that before; the way the artist places its protrusions, in other words, his points of composition on the border is like playing a three dimensional go game. This guy is visually incredibly smart.”

 

Technically his works are shaped canvases, paintings on the walls or on the floor. Usually, the aesthetics of shaped canvases is associated with smooth sensual curves (Gorchov, Matsutani, Imai…) or with geometrical patterns (Frank Stella, Enrico Castellani…). Eduardo Portillo’s canvases are not smooth but sharp, and the composition is unpredictable, surprising, playful and nevertheless perfectly balanced. On the work titled Eta Carinae DS100 the three dents on the works on the surface perfectly combine with the three points of the triangular canvas. The artist also makes great decisions in his selection of colors depending on the canvas shape and their position on the front or on the sides. As his work is three dimensional, it implies shadows and reflections and the artist plays with them. The standing work titled B-15z seems to have received a sun and colored ray just on his sides.

 

Up to now reviews about Eduardo Portillo’s works refer to topographical landscapes. There is some truth in it as the artist not only makes some drawings but also takes photographic shots of nature and urban landscapes to develop his visual vocabulary. As the dots of composition and specific colors are located on the borders and as now he develops works with several panels such as The Last Gasherbrum, the topographical interpretation has been sometimes extended to the thematic of a frontier, as borders of political entities. Effectively the artist’s life faced the experience of them. 

Another interpretation is to consider each piece as a stone that the artist intended to sculpt and tried to. However, the inner structure of the stone resists to the artist’s will and Jean-Luc Richard called these protrusions “dents of resistance”. The artist seems to recognize the weakness and the strength of the material and plays with them instead of confronting them.  One step further could be to refer the borders and space between each painted element as a visual representation of concept “Entre-Deux” (in-between) created by psychoanalyst and philosopher Daniel Sibony. The in-between is an incompressible distance between two humans, however close they are in life.

Eduardo Portillo’s shape canvas brings a new visual aesthetics in the art history of painting. Their three-dimensional aspect and their abstract vocabulary are open to multiple interpretations which combine and enrich his works.

 

Eduardo E. Portillo obtained a B.F.Q at the University of Houston, TX in 2011. He participated in solo and group exhibitions in art galleries in Houston, Dallas, Denver, San Antonio and in museum exhibitions in the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. His exhibitions have been reviewed in BlouinArtInfo, Art Ltd, West, 1 /1 Mag, Entropy Mag, The Know, The Denver Post to cite a few.