Juan Miguel Palacios is a Spanish born artist who was raised in a matriarchal household in Madrid. From a very young age, Juan Miguel was encouraged by his mother and grandmother to pursue his obvious interest in painting. As a preteen, He found himself in the studio of renowned Spanish painter Amadeo Roca Gisbert (a disciple of Joaquin Sorolla) and studied under him for many years. After receiving his college degree, He founded the Laocoonte Art School of Madrid where he spent time teaching and focused on the development of his art career. In 2013 Juan Miguel moved to New York City from which he now works, He has been collected by museums including, the Museo de la Danza Alicia Alonso (Cuba), fodesa S.A. Madrid, and successfully showing with galleries such as Lazarides and Booth Gallery, most recently returning from a sell-out show at Scope during Miami Art Week.
He begins painting on thin panels of vinyl using industrial, oil-based house paint. The vinyl is later layered over a slab of battered drywall. Juan Miguel states, “I use a wall, hard and heavy, as a symbol of a stable structure but constant aggressions have destroyed it.” Juan Miguel uses any means available to break the drywall: anything from a hammer to his own feet is fair game. He polishes the edges of the cavities with a blowtorch and further solidifies the damage with a polyester foam resin. Then, he returns to the vinyl painting and warps the work with paint thinner, even sometimes scratching at the image with his nails.
There is an existential crisis sweeping across the globe currently, manifesting as an ever-widening chasm between empathy and apathy, the privileged and the oppressed, predator and prey. This chasm stands open like a metaphysical wound in dire need of healing. This ancient and enduring struggle between the malignant and the benign is illustrated brilliantly and beautifully in Palacios’ latest series of mixed-media paintings, or “Wounds,” as he calls them. These works, featuring delicate paintings of women’s faces desperately caught between fight and flight, are gorgeously rendered using industrial, oil-based house paint on thin panels of clear vinyl, then layered over hard slabs of ruptured gray drywall.
Palacios uses any means available to break the drywall: anything from a hammer to his own feet is fair game. The interplay between these colorful, ethereal, seductive combined with the skeletal, crumbling, pyroclastic cloud-like texture of the exposed, granular Sheetrock underneath, eventually merge to create something truly arresting, if not entirely unprecedented in the contemporary art arena. “So much of the work is about surfaces,” says Palacios, clearly fatigued by the traditional practice of creating two-dimensional images on canvas. “I try to find new ways of expressing. I want to vindicate paint, while discovering new forms of communication.
“So much of the work is about surfaces,” says Palacios, clearly fatigued by the traditional practice of creating two-dimensional images on canvas. “I try to find new ways of expressing. I want to vindicate paint, while discovering new forms of communication.”