By Diego Gutierrez  



Diego Gutierrez Let’s start by learning a bit about you, what are some of the things that are currently influencing you?

Aramis Gutierrez I am looking a lot at cinema lately.  As a representational artist I always get this sneaking feeling that the last 40 or so years of cinema was more instrumental for the exploration of new and interesting "images” than Contemporary art.  That said, cinema has taken so much from painting over the years and since perhaps, the nineties, has experienced the same sort of market driven creative drain that Contemporary art suffers from.  Perhaps a reevaluation of this symbiotic relationship is timely and relevant.  

DG Your work has carried a connection to narrative. I would say your current work is more rooted to cinematic narrative than painting narrative. Can you share your ideas on narrative and the use of it in paintings?

AG When you break things down, I think the gulf between painting and cinematic narrative can be pretty narrow.  However, when thinking about the issues surrounding contemporary narrative painting, it wasn’t a cinematic solution that I was originally drawn to.  I was looking at the way the formal and performative qualities of dance subvert narrative.  Politically, I found these parameters very generous and very grey, which is something that contemporary culture and art often get wrong.  When I finally got around to using more cinematic sources, I became attracted to images that have a narrative structure, but had no prescribed position, allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusion. 

DG In regard to your current body of work, can you talk about your interest in making technique more visible in your paintings and tying technique with images of fantasy and romance?

AG I’ve never been a natural technician so anything I pull off comes at some degree of luck and improvisation.  There has always been a mysterious air surrounding skill, the eye and the hand.  Perhaps, the key to representational painting is suspending belief just enough that the viewer lowers their guard and can look at the image without questioning formal technicalities. The same logic can be applied in cinema when depicting something supernatural or otherworldly.  So marrying cinematic fantasy and painterly technique seems like a logical relationship.   

DG It seems like your paintings are questioning current painting aesthetics.  Are the painting working as a statement against what we are commonly seeing in galleries?

AG If there is a criticality to the market in my work it would be, coincidentally, communicated in my stance.  I really love that painting has this vast range of language between the skilled and de-skilled.  That said, I'm not that interested in the conversation surrounding rehashed modernism, abstraction and their relationship to commodity.  It is more of a market conversation that isn’t really adding anything productive to the dialogue about painting.  This notion that you can build a career off some Jules Olitski-era special effect or some other not so distant blue-chip sanctioned approach just plays it a little too safe for me.  If nothing is risked then nothing is gained.  


DG Can you share your ideas about images and their current use in painting?

AG Images will remain very important to contemporary art.  However, if it is easy to live with, goes nice next to furniture or looks like designer wall paper for rich people, then my advice is to avoid it. 

DG The artist-run space that you cofounded GUCCIVUITTON has developed into a legitimate space in Miami. How has this experience affected your practice?

AG GUCCIVUITTON has largely been a really positive experience. The gallery continues to change and develop in ways that Domingo, Loriel or myself couldn’t have predicted. I find the idea of collaborative painting a little adverse, so working with two other artists and one designer, has been very healthy for my perspective.  Apparently, we are now an artist-group as well as a gallery, which we are all surprised about. 

DG Miami’s art scene has changed a lot over the years and continues to develop. You have a long history with Miami and the local culture; what are your thoughts on Miami’s growing art community?

AG I believe the situation in Miami has improved quite a bit since the recession.  Quality of life, affordable studio space and a relatively free environment for experimentation are some of the biggest advantages for living in Miami.  Unfortunately, it still is not a viable scene for supporting career artists.  Though there are enormous pockets and refuges for wealth in South Florida, very few collectors buy local artists or support our institutions.  They show up for the openings & the parties, but they have mostly concerned with real-estate and tax breaks for art purchased elsewhere.  

Posted January 23, 2016