Juan Uslé Santander, Spain, b. 1954
Juan Uslé was born in Santander, Spain in 1954. He studied fine art at Escuela Superior de Belles Artes in San Carlos, Valencia from 1973 to 1977. He relocated to New York in the late 1980s where he held his first solo exhibit in 1988 at the Farideh Cadot Gallery. His paintings, however, have been shown in galleries and museums since 1981. He was the subject of major retrospectives at the Es Baluard, Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca (2010); the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga (2007); S.M.A.K., Ghent, Fundación Botín, Cantabria, Spain, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2004); the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2003); the Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2002); and the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern and MACBA Museum, Barcelona (1996). He was also included in the 2005 Venice Biennale, Documenta IX (1992), the 1992 Istanbul Biennial, and the 1985 Bienal de São Paulo.
He now lives and works in Saro (Cantabria) and New York City. Uslé’s abstractions are evocative of the colors, light and space of his Northern Spanish homeland and the density, energy and unpredictability of New York City. Both places provide Uslé with a feeling of “displacement” - an important theme for his work. As he says: “I’ve always felt something strange, ‘displaced,’ in the various places I’ve lived. When we would go to my grandparents’ town, I would watch the other children of my age and wonder: why do we – my family and me – not live there too?” Later, in New York, Uslé felt a similar sensation, which was perpetuated as he “stumbled from place to place.” Despite many moves, and having studios in several locations, the feeling followed: “We are not of a specific place; rather we are/belong to them all.” This theme of displacement is often explored in the artist's works. He also draws inspiration from other sources such as literature, film, poetry, and everyday life.