Paulo Laport

Paulo Laport KATZEN, 2013, oil-on-linen, 37 x 27.6 x 2in (94 x 70 x 5cm)
Paulo Laport KATZN, 2013, oil-on-linen, 37 x 27.6 x 2in (94 x 70 x 5cm)

Like a lot of contemporary art, when you first look at one of Paulo Laport’s paintings, it’s easy to think that anybody could do that. But when you stop and look at the work, you see that it’s really not so easy.

The artist has a well-defined process that somehow captures time and space in a simple rectangle that replays itself in endless variations when you hang it on a wall and look at it.

Laport works in oil on paper or plywood. He paints layered mesh grids that look a bit like a bandage, a bamboo thatch, or the webbing of a chaise lounge. From a New York point of view, the paintings look like the side of a skyscraper seen through a cloudy mist on a rainy day. Some look like the Coliseum in Rome at night. That’s strange because Laport works out of his studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Though the paintings have a casual feeling, Laport paints slowly and is very meticulous. He even frames his own work. “Nobody touches my paintings,” he told NYLC. It takes Laport 24 hours to make a painting, but that might be 24 hours straight. His process is mixing and layering the paint while managing the way it dries.

Laport finds traditional brushes insufficient so he paints with brushes and tools that he makes himself. The finished paintings are fairly monochromatic in shades of gray or sand, but Laport starts his paintings with color. One painting he showed us started with a black background which he painted over with green that after his process blended into shades of sand. The finished paintings have an inner luminescence like a good pearl.

Ximena Ojeda and Paulo Laport at Edelman Arts
Ximena Ojeda and Paulo Laport at Edelman Arts

I asked gallery owner Asher Edelman what attracted him to Laport’s work. Asher said he first noticed Laport in the 1980s. “The paintings had a depth such that you could almost see into them. Paulo has a unique ability to get into the paint as it dries. The paintings look structured, but are actually very romantic.”

Paulo Laport’s paintings are like a crystal ball. At a glance it’s just a piece of glass, but when you stop and look inside, images appear like magic.

Paulo Laport opens May 29, 2013 6-8pm at Edelman Arts on the Upper East Side. The show runs through July 13, 2013.

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