Archive for January, 2011

The Art of San Jose’s Luis Gutierrez

Posted by erin on January 11th, 2011


by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

It has been some time since I have seen a large body of Luis Gutierrez’ works in the South Bay, so it was a rewarding experience to see a lot of work by this skilled veteran painter presented together. As versatile and varied as Luis Gutierrez is in his multimedia collages, assemblages and paintings, the work is easily identifiable for a consistency in brushstroke, the choice of materials and a kind of frontal, “in your face” presentation of imagery.  I see three directions represented in Gutierrez’ current show at Axis Gallery in San Jose.

A recent assemblage by Luis Gutierrez features an artist’s box of rubbing stumps mounted on a “found” wooden surface.

Gutierrez goes back to his earliest work as an abstract expressionist in his PTSD series of painted portraits of Viet Nam vets with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  These vets are presented in profile with just a few deft juicy strokes from a loaded brush, mostly in dark colors.  Scars, distortions, defiled flesh, and an implied derangement are seen through the paint strokes. It would be fair to say not a pretty picture, yet graphically clear!

Other work within the collage/montage approach draws a lot on a Pop sensibility that celebrates graphics, posters, targets, flags, and anatomical or educational charts. If Andy Warhol or Robert Indiana’s appropriation of commercially printed and mass-produced objects of popular culture tended toward the straightforward, raw and even tedious aspects of this genre, Gutierrez does this sometimes, as well, but also searches out the elegant and works more toward a representation of and juxtapositions of the beautiful.  And if Pop Art tended to imitate some of the bland, flatness of commercial graphics, develops a sensual three-dimensionality.