Lluis Lleó (Barcelona, 1961) who has lived in New York since 1989, is an artist who moves with identical ease between painting and sculpture, making his work especially difficult to catalogue. His recent works are neither sculptural paintings nor painted sculptures: they are works that lie midway between abstraction and figuration, having the particular characteristic the combination of painting with elements in relief that provide the work an arquitectural matrix. Arquitectural references, that since the beginning of the 1990s, Lleó has used in his work, focusing on the mysterious and evocative power of geometry and the rythms and pacing that it can define. The result is a body of work that seeks concurrence between elements that appear opposite, lyricism and power, order and chaos, presence and transparency.
A third generation painter, Lleó has inherited from his father and grandfather an interest for traditional techniques, discovered as a child in the rural churches of Catalonia and the medieaval frescoes of the Vall de Boí (or in the MNAC Museum on Montjuich in Barcelona), using pure pigment with the fresco technique, which although has a long tradition in Catalan art history is currently used by very few painters. The fresco, as noted by Robert Hughes in reference to the artist, is “that unique, neglected, vulnerable and yet miraculously durable medium of water-based paint chemically bonded into wet plaster, so that there is essentially on division between the support and the design,” and offers unexpected qualities to the work while underscoring the ineffable contradiction that makes indistinguishable the medium from the painting and complicates the definition of the work of Lluís Lleó.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, the Banco de España, Madrid, The Nagoya Museum, Japan, the Sofía Imber Museum, Caracas, The World Bank, Washington, among others.