Angel Otero is an abstract innovator, imbuing his works with visceral physicality. His process begins with painting thick layers of oil upon Plexiglas; while half-dry, he peels of the resulting ‘oil skins’ and applies them to canvas prepared with adhesive, forming a sculptural painterly surface that he then further adorns with gestural abstract brushstrokes. More influenced by the New York School of Abstract Expressionism than by his contemporaries, the artist arrived to an MFA scholarship in Chicago from Puerto Rico aged twenty-four with only a rudimentary knowledge of recent art history. ‘Painters, I think, recognize the physicality of oil paint specifically, how demanding it is, and how closely it can resemble our own bodies. Each of my paintings has a layer of skin … It’s a way of dealing with the history of painting, and at the same time it’s a very materialistic and physical process’ (A. Otero in A. M. Goldstein, ‘Artist Angel Otero on “Justifying” the Medium of Painting,’ Artspace, 17 October 2013). The resulting works occupy an intriguing ground between painting and sculpture, collage and décollage, creating the odd sensation that we are seeing painting done back-to-front; while Otero keeps quiet about the specific genesis for each work, their brooding colours and textures create a tactile zone where past and present combine to potent effect.