Juan Miguel Palacios’ first London solo show, ‘Wounded‘ opened last week at Lazarides Gallery and will run until 22nd July. His artwork, using drywall and a transparent vinyl instead of canvases, which creates a depth within the painting, uncovers the emotions beneath a happy face, to the fatigue and pain that is produced by day-to-day experiences, the artist identifies these life experiences as ‘wounds’. Using a woman’s face as a base Juan Miguel investigates the variety of hidden emotions within his art.
Why did you decide that normal canvases weren’t enough for your work, Juan?
Don’t you think that doing the same thing for more than 500 years is a bit boring? I like to try different materials all the time. I think that figurative painting always seems to use a canvas, I think this subject matter deserves more in terms of material and this is why I wanted to explore new mediums.
How do you peel back the veneer of the human face to explore the emotions below for Wounded?
It’s a long process. If you want to learn more swing by the gallery and I’ll explain to you with a glass of wine! But in terms of technique, I paint the entire face and I try to remove part of the surface with the intention to see what is behind the paint – this is the wall and this reveals the interior to me. The vinyl is the exterior and the identity of the human, it is their personality or character. The broken wall is the experiences that shape our character.
Did you sit on the street and watch for people who had a weariness about them?
No no. I’m a restless person so I can’t be sitting down for more than a few minutes, so I normally follow the people just analysing their behaviour. I think the concept and my idea for the show started from my own personal experiences. I love New York, when I first moved there it was amazing, it is an incredible city. But there was a bit of me that really struggled as there were parts of living there that were so hard, I found it really difficult to make ends meet and generally just to make things work. These troubles started to have an effect on me and I realised that I was not the only one who found life here challenging in parts. At the same time though, it is a wonderful city and I love being there.
Is any of the work more about you than people might realise?
Perhaps all of them. If Freud or one of his colleagues were here I’m pretty sure they’d probably discover that all of this is about me! All my works come from my experiences – they are very personal to me.
Where can we see more of your work?
I am still working and living in New York, Brooklyn so that is mainly where I show my work, so if you ever find yourself there please do stop by my studio… and of course my website and social media!
Interview: Josh Jones