José Lerma and "A Trazos" @ Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles
Who would have thought that a concept and style called “featureless portraiture" would have so much, well, features to it. José Lerma is about big strokes of paint and abstracted patterns to create what is universally known to be faces and bodies, portraits that carry the weight of both material and familiarity. In his new show, A Trazos, on view now at Nino Mier in Los Angeles, Lerma presents two bodies of work; one his pale and yet bold portraits with giant swaths and motions of paint, and then black and white, geometric portraits.
As the gallery notes, "In previous bodies of work in this style, Lerma’s portraits were of historical figures like politicians and painters alongside people from his own life. In A Trazos, however, many of the portraits are composites of multiple subjects or include fictitious features." But what is most effective, if you know the subject or not, is the power of scale, both as a tool for detailing paint but also how we as the viewer feel overwhelmed by the faces. They, in their lack of expression, become almost hypnotically full of powerful traits and senses. —Evan Pricco