Angel Otero Puerto Rico, b. 1981


Angel Otero is a Puerto Rican-born painter and sculptor whose work is influenced by the nature and formulation of memories.


Otero’s approach to art making combines methods of formation and deformation, a way of working that results in images and objects that seem to be in a continual state of becoming. Among his most illustrative bodies of work are his so-called “paint skins,” which are made by painting on glass then, once dry, scraping off the paint in sheets like peeled layers of skin. Those peeled paint skins can then be rearranged on a canvas to create a layered, textured abstract composition, which can be interpreted as a re-mixed material memory of its own creation.


In another body of work, Otero employs silicone and powdered pigments to create fragile abstract impressions on canvas. Known as the Transfer Series, this body of work takes imagery from Otero’s personal history and distills it down to a line pattern evocative of a traditional woodcut print. Following the lines with silicone and dusting the canvas with raw pigment, Otero transfers the images between canvases in an act that is simultaneously creative and destructive, forming new abstract images while the original is destroyed in the transfer.


With these processes, Otero showcases the physicality of his materials beyond their historical uses as image-making mediums, making the materials and processes the subjects of the work.


Recent major exhibitions of Otero’s work include Diario, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; The Otherside of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art, Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; Elegies, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Everything and Nothing, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX; and Lago, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; and Coffee, Rum, Sugar, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA. Otero’s work is included in the collections of the Berezdivin Collection, Puerto Rico; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; DePaul University Museum, Chicago, IL; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; UBS Art Collection, Chicago, IL; and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, among many others. Otero attended the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, and received his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has completed residencies at Vannucci Artist Residency, Umbria, Italy, and Anderson Ranch, Aspen, Colorado. He lives and works in New York.