ARTIST:

José Lerma

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José Lerma
Samuel Bernard, 2010
Acrylic on canvas, synthesizer, speakers
189 x 152 x 43 cm

José Lerma’s works illustrate the rise and fall of powerful historical figures. Either taking inspiration from episodes of Puerto Rico’s wars or focusing on portraying old celebrities such as the banker Samuel Benard – considered the most famous and richest banker in 18th century Europe – Lerma creates his paintings by building layers of ball pen doodles. The heaps of cartoon-style drawings accumulate on the canvas as if struggling for space to exist. They are later combined with an array of household materials – such as pink military parachutes – which are employed in the composition to veil or frame the emerging oversized portraits. Such is the effect of the combination of materials on a large scale that the portrayed subjects become monumental ghostly silhouettes of Baroque effigies.

José Lerma
King Charles II of England, 2011
Nylon, acrylic on canvas
236 x 179 x 5 cm

The mammoth scale of his paintings is matched by the crumpled paper accumulations, that when erected within the gallery space, seem awkward imitations of traditional marble busts. Both the kitsch aesthetic and the references to popular culture heroes such as legendary boxer Emanuel Augustus alongside the ‘homage’ to ruling historical figures, suggest a multi-temporal approach to the eternal subjects of war, love and power that populate the annals of art history.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

José Lerma
Madre Perla V-11, 2011
Acrylic on canvas, keyboard, güiro
244 x 458cm

José Lerma
& Héctor Madera <br><br>Bust of Emanuel Augustus, 2012
Paper bust
Dimensions variable

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