José Antonio Suárez Londoño and Santiago de Paoli at Lulu, Mexico

Known for his entrancing, meticulous, small-scale drawings, José Antonio Suárez Londoño also makes postcard-sized etchings. The imagery found therein includes everything from flora and fauna to two-headed human beings to geometrical configurations to a Robert Walser-sized script itself as well as references to literature and music. At times reminiscent of classical, scientific illustrations, it can also bring to mind Leonardo de Vinci’s notebooks in addition to other, more elusive arcana. Timeless, bewitching, and strange, these works testify to the rigorous cultivation of a highly distilled, idiosyncratic graphic language whose intimate scale merits and richly rewards close viewing.

Although markedly simpler, the paintings of Santiago de Paoli are no less weird. Working on unusual supports, which include felt, slates of wood, and knitted wool, de Paoli’s most recent body of work alternates between, and sometimes conflates, the depiction of lunar crescents and non-gendered human posteriors (yes, asses and moons). Reductive to the point of seeming naïve, his densely layered paintings are fashioned with a dark and loamy palette, offset by luminous peaches and violets, pale blues and milky whites, which brings to mind the Sienna-inflected hues of central Italy. The stark linear quality of his imagery is not without a touch of European surrealism, while the tendency toward unconventional supports evokes the ad hoc ingenuity of the outsider artist.

In both cases, each artist combines a refreshingly personal approach to subject matter with a strikingly refined sense of craft. What they make is at once the byproduct of and continuous with the elaboration of their own unique pictorial universes and ways of perceiving the world.

 

José Antonio Suárez Londoño and Santiago de Paoli
Lulu, Colonia Roma, Mexico
Trough September 16