Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce Cuban American artist Jorge Pardo’s eleventh solo show with Petzel, on view from September 9th to October 30th at the gallery’s Chelsea location. Titled All bets are off, the exhibition will feature over 10 new large-scale paintings, a four-piece custom-built couch, and 7 x 5 foot chandelier, among other works.
As is typical of Pardo, these new paintings make one consider the act of looking itself. Each is made up of an accumulation of images, first layered digitally until nearly unrecognizable, and then laser-cut engraved in outline on MDF, and finally hand-painted in acrylic. The resulting objects speak to both sculpture and painting in a signature flamboyant Pardo style. The paintings are abstractions, transformed through the combination of layered imagery, but one cannot call them nonrepresentational, rather, they present distorted forms without the memory of what they represent.
No stranger to maximalism, these thoroughly additive works continue an exploration of layered painting that the artist has been developing over many years. Pulled from a wide range of source material, the initial images (typically two to seven layers per painting) are a nonhierarchical amalgamation of personal photographs, works by other artists he admires, or even past pieces of his own, coming to exist in the space between and amongst each other. Pardo is most interested to play with the possibilities, seemingly limitless in this case, as he puts it: “It’s about making them disappear and turn into something else.” The collective patchwork effect allows for just enough difference from painting to painting that they “start to have a dialogue between each other,” says Pardo. Tied to the location of his studio in Mérida, Mexico and Pardo’s own Latinx heritage, the works and painting techniques on view also show strong Mexican and Mayan influences, containing frequent references to the cultural aesthetics and materials of the immediate cultural landscape.