The way one tells a story often rivals the story itself. Such is the case with Angel Otero’s first solo exhibition, in which textured paintings and assemblages combine to form a loose visual autobiography with an emphasis on process. While any relationship between process-based art and living autobiography should seem obvious, Otero’s storytelling isn’t nearly so direct. Mostly evident in select large-scale paintings composed upon black backgrounds, the past isn’t remembered so much as it is memorialized. This somber nostalgia, in addition to the presence of flora and vases, recalls the commemorative paintings of Ross Bleckner from the 1980s. The indeterminacy of memory versus memorial is furthered by Otero’s repeated imagery of objects represented by silicone skeletons. Tables and staircases are alluded to with layers of piped silicone, resisting any commitment to structural solidity. While these paintings comprise the minority of Otero’s first solo show, they are nonetheless his strongest, exemplifying autobiography as a construction of memory. (Justin Natale)
Through January 30 at Kavi Gupta Gallery, 835 W. Washington Ave.