My fascination with historical events center around social injustices and the effects of imperialism drive my investigations, as much as materials and their physical qualities determine the composition of my work. I translate these ideas into my practice by creating artworks containing a variety of materials, sections from other pieces, modified and distorted historical photographs to present the viewer with new possibilities. As a result, I construct paintings where mixed media share the same surface, functioning together as fragments of different bodies to create a new visual language.
Luis A. Gutierrez is a mixed-media artist currently living and working in Queens, New York. His most recent solo exhibitions include "Entre Sombras, From Figuration to Abstraction" at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Gutierrez has also exhibited work in private galleries and Christie's, New York. In 2016, Spectrum Miami Art Fair awarded him with the "Launchpad Artist Award" and a site-specific installation. He studied painting under the mentorship of artist Alfred Razza.
Images courtesy the artist.
Interview questions developed by 2020 AIM Curatorial Intern Victoria Sperotto.
Consecuencias Naturales (Natural Consequences)
Oil pastel, oil paint, charcoal, canvas, thread, hemp rope, candles and tree branches
60.5 x 56 x 45.5 in.
Oil paint, charcoal, oil pastel, thread, image printed on fabric and canvas.
11.75 x 11.75 in.
Oil pastel, paste, oil paint, inkjet printed image on paper, canvas and thread.
13.75 x 14.5 in.
Prende la Vela
Oil Pastel, oil paint, acrylic, wood, candles, canvas, thread, fabric and image printed on paper.
20 x 11.5 x 6 in.
Q&A wtih Luis Gutierrez
In your opinion, what role does art play in 2020 amidst the events of the past year?
When talking about art, one must not only speak about the finished product but also of the artists and their experiences, they are the forces behind the act of creation. That being said, I believe art can function as a reminder of our reality, as well as a way to escape our everyday struggles. Only the artists themselves can choose which route they want to take. From personal experience, I have to say that most of the artists I know and follow are taking a very active approach to face the challenges arising in a year full of polarization and political dysfunction.
How have you been connecting to art or your art community during Covid?
During the shelter in place, I started to attend a critique meeting every week, which allowed me to keep connecting with other artists. Meeting with the AIM cohort was also a great way to keep interacting with my art community.
Your artist statement says you make art with varied materials to tell an altered history. As many of your works contain a mix of photographs, thread and textiles, how does the mix of these elements help you to convey your message?
By including a variety of materials, I am exposing the complexity of learning about historical events. When investigating a subject, one discovers that a specific event or story is composed of many layers, from personal and cultural to political implications. It is this intricate web of parts that attracts me to learn more about something and use it as a part of my work.
In your opinion, what is the relevance of highlighting underreported histories or stories in your art?
Our world connects in unimaginable ways, and we can use history to learn about the practices of individuals and groups of people to recognize the impact their actions have on our present. When researching underreported events and stories, I can't help but think about how valuable it is to present the viewer with this information. Only when we can understand our past can we make informed choices that will affect our future for the better.