Juan Arango Palacios: Como Ángel en Cielo @ New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles
New Image Art is pleased to present Como Ángel en Cielo (Like An Angel In Heaven), a solo exhibition featuring a vivid body of work by Chicago-based artist Juan Arango Palacios. On view at New Image Art, through October 9, 2021, this is Palacios’ first solo exhibition in Los Angeles and with the gallery.
Como Angel en Cielo is a solo exhibition featuring paintings, drawings, and textiles by Chicago-based artist Juan Arango Palacios. The artist’s work is a beacon of glittery openness, representing their own experiences a midst their queer community in Chicago. As a Latinx nonbinary artist Palacios’ commitment to a more accessible and empowered queer utopia is something to be applauded considering the underlying machismo and religious conservatism that is imprinted within the LatinX and American communities. Palacios paints a subversive, unapologetically queer, and bacchanalian nightlife juxtaposed with figures of tattooed, sweaty revelers with sharp acrylics on the dance floor and in the bathroom taking selfies. In a time where we are experiencing an increasing amount of agency unimaginable to former generations, Palacios creates statements of kinship and self-introspection, confronting coded binaries created by the past.
The paintings flaunt narratives and symbols derived from Palacios’ Catholic upbringing in Colombia, Texas, and Louisiana. Angels, demons, and cowboys are archetypal fantasies that the artist mixes with their reality of a queer experience. By painting queer people in times of leisure, sadness, happiness, and love, Palacios is basking in their right to simply exist. Unbothered and unapologetic Palacios is putting their queer community on a pedestal to be glorified, dignified, and to just be themselves like a fish in the water or an angel in the sky.
Referencing their struggle with gender, they turns cowboy boots and flowers into symbols that were imposed as masculine or feminine in Palacios’ upbringing. By using bright monochromatic palettes, Palacios references the blurred memory of an immigrant, a hazy heavenly fantasy, or the lighting of the club dancefloor. They capture the contemporary queer nightlife scene along with their own personal experiences through techno-colored lenses, capturing the renaissance of a queer utopia amidst the anthropocene.