Max Estrella is pleased to present the latest work by Omar Rodríguez Graham (Mexico, 1978). Under the title ‘Ritmo Doble’ (Double Rhythm), this is the artist's first solo exhibition in Spain. Omar Rodriguez-Graham’s work is the result of an ongoing exploration to find the meeting point between the recognizable and the abstract. His paintings stem from constant research in the terrains of color, texture, and time.
His work begins with the use of recognizable images from historic Renaissance paintings as an armature to place marks. In a carefully planned process, Rodriguez-Graham digitally modifies these historic paintings to an unrecognizable abstraction. These digital sketches are then translated into actual large-format paintings. As with the calculated approach of Renaissance painters, Rodriguez-Graham methodically assigns different colors, textures and techniques to specific areas, slowly constructing each plane. Even the shape and scale of canvases are carefully considered. As he builds the painting, Rodriguez-Graham welcomes moments of improvisation, experimenting with different ways of applying oil paint in each passage of the picture. This is his way of compressing and tackling various moments of art history.
By transforming figurative painting into abstraction, Rodríguez-Graham retains diverse references from the sources of the image. He then overlays them like semi-transparent layers, creating overlapping fields reminiscent of early photomontages and cubist paintings that experimented with capturing movement or an object shown from different perspectives simultaneously within a static image. The time of conception, the time of construction, and the time of perception are considered in his methodical approach. In other words, this is his way of compressing time and capturing the image creation process with the same gesture.
In the artist’s own words:
My work builds upon the concepts of Painting that muralists, such as Uccello, Siqueiros, and Matta, proposed in hopes of inflicting an inescapable experience of Painting upon the spectator. It attempts to produce an encounter that, although born from the works’ visuality, generates an experience surpassing that which can be immediately perceptible, and that exists simultaneously within the spectator’s imagination. It accepts that to experience a painting is not solely the passive act of receiving visual stimuli, but rather it is as Lacan would describe, a collision of the spectator’s gaze – containing all its desires and histories – with the projection of the visible image. A total experience of Painting, that extends itself infinitely into our imagination, of the kind that Uccello intended his murals to be; Equally illusory and real.
By disassembling the historical traditions of Painting (techniques, concepts and methods), and consequentially appropriating them, my paintings restructure them into new expansive works. They explore the possibilities of constructing a total experience of painting, taking on the complete tradition of painting. Incorporating different moments from that historical arc, not only in the composition of the works but also by utilizing different touches, gestures and textures, as citations to distinct historical moments; Functioning as meta-historical paintings that attempt to weave themselves into the historical narrative of Painting by sampling from various moments simultaneously. They are gestures that project themselves into the viewer’s concrete space and further into their imagination, evidencing Painting’s expansiveness – not only within the realm of the visual, but also simultaneously within historic and imaginary ones, in both personal and public spheres – as a conceptual encounter that considers how a total experience of Painting can be constructed; a question which is itself intrinsic to painting’
Omar Rodriguez-Graham (1978, México) lives and works in Mexico City. His work has been shown both individually and collectively in México, the United States, Europe and South America. His recent solo shows include: Primer Ensayo, Arróniz Arte Contemporaneo (México, 2022), Rodriguez-Graham, Marc Straus (USA, 2020), Tête-à-Têtes, Drew University (USA, 2017) Omar Rodriguez-Graham, Marc Straus (USA, 2017), Painting After , Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico, 2017), El Manto, Galleria MACCA (Italy, 2016). His work has been included in museum shows such as: El Hombre al Desnudo (The Male in the Nude) at the National Museum of Art (Mexico, 2014) the 15th Rufino Tamayo Painting Biennial at the Tamayo Museum (Mexico, 2012) and Bella y Terca (Beautiful and Stubborn) at the Museum of Modern Art (Mexico, 2010), among others.His work is held in private and public collections in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, México, Peru, Singapur, the United States of America and Venezuela among which are included La Colección Jumex, México, Museo de Arte Moderno, México, Sayago & Pardon, U.S.A, Jorge Pérez, U.S.A. Fondazione MACC, Italy, Sigg Foundation, Switzerland, Fidelity Investments Art Collections, U.S.A., Arcadia Art Foundation, U.K. His forthcoming projects include a one person show at the Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros in Mexico (2023) and a one person show at the Fondazione MACC in Italy.