Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Catalan artist makes U.S. debut

Agustí Puig offers a look at Spain?s contemporary art

Express Staff Writer

?Junction? by Agustí Puig. Mixed media on canvas at Gallery DeNovo.

Arriving from Catalonia, Spain, artist Agustí Puig will exhibit his works for the first time in the United States at the Gallery DeNovo in Ketchum. Puig's exhibition will open for Gallery Walk on Friday, Dec. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m., and the artist will be present.

Gallery DeNovo owners Robin Reiners and Michael Carpenter where introduced to the artist through another Spanish artist, Marta Moreu, whom Gallery DeNovo represents. After seeing Puig's work at Art Miami in January 2007, a meeting was arranged for Reiners and Carpenter to meet Puig.

"His art has so much energy, and it is sophisticated," Reiners said. "He has a very physical process and is constantly drawing and sketching."

Puig paints on canvas, paper and cardboard and has a unique style that suggests a likeness to Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso or Joan Miró. He works in a gigantic studio, which was once an old textile factory in the small industrial town of Sabadell, located on the outskirts of Barcelona. He is one of Spain's premiere artists and has decided to reach for international recognition beginning with his first show in Ketchum.

"For his U.S. debut he insisted on making all new works," Reiners said.

Puig creates abstract designs, which are rounded and feminine or splashy and masculine, through painting, drawing, etching and a variety of brush strokes and unusual punctures. He uses minimal color, working with ochre, brilliant white, fiery red, terracotta, ash and charcoal. His simple lines and shapes reveal intense imagery loaded with emotion.

"Puig mixes his own paint, which has a thicker binding material in it," Reiners said. "It's not plaster, but that is the general idea. He has large buckets of color, which he pours onto the surface of the work, and then sometimes he will move it around with another tool."

Puig's creative process is reflected in all his work, which invites a viewer to enjoy it on many levels, from an art-aesthetic approach to simple daydreaming. This past summer, Puig worked in Barcelona with filmmaker Woody Allen, who will be feature his paintings in a film starring Penelope Cruz and Javioer Bardem.

Puig's debut solo exhibition is in both the main and upstairs galleries of Gallery DeNovo. The upstairs gallery also includes Moreu's sculptures, complementing Puig's work and bringing together an appreciation for contemporary Spanish art.

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