"Painting as an open ground for confrontation is both physical and spiritual. My aim in painting is to bring closer these two worlds and produce an account that reveals all of the emotions felt through the physical process. The chaos and confusion that reality brings serves as the catalyst of a new world full of mystical connotations, and its ambiguity as well as the ambiguity of my thoughts are the constant provocation that keeps my desire to paint fresh. How a painting can be a vision and at the same time retain the memory of its making is a challenge I can’t resist" (artist's statement in Graven Images Volume 3: Madness, Melancholy, and the Limits of the Self: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Madison: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1998).
Lledos was praised by reviewer Holland Cotter in ARTnews (May 1990) for the "unusually accomplished body of work" he has produced, and for creating works that "neither recapitulate an older style nor promote themselves with novelty," but instead present "images of beauty and complexity" while offering the viewer "the sense of a fine performance brought to a faultless, logical close." As Cotter notes, "Lledos’ hand is adept at doing several contradictory things at once," and he praises him both for his ability to create "compelling forms" and for "his gorgeous and discreetly exacting touch." In the Winter 1992 issue of Partisan Review, Karen Wilkin, author of books on Stuart Davis and Kenneth Noland, located him within a "kind of tradition of simplified frontal ‘imagery,’" and praised the materiality of his works: "I enjoyed this evident pleasure in his materials in all of his work. How thin or how dense paint can be, the way it retains the memory of how it was put down, are as crucial to the structure of a Lledos painting as changes in tone or color. His large canvases are as much about how it feels to drag a brush full of paint from top to bottom of a band of color as they are about any kind of allusion, but they never degenerate into simple manipulation of material. And there’s a conviction in the paintings that is a welcome change from the worldly-wise cynicism of the new abstract painters at Sidney Janis" (117).
Manel Lledos left Spain to come and live in New York. A native Catalonian, Lledos works in New York and teaches art at the City University of New York, yet his work has been described as partaking of the melancholy of the exile, even while he adjusts quite successfully to his new home. Many of Manel Lledos's works seem to be inspired by or recall places, once home, now alien; once present, now absent. Lledos, a transplanted Catalonian who now lives in New York City and teaches art at the City University of New York is an accomplished artist in the tradition of the Spanish art informel, their version of abstract expressionism, but in his hands art becomes a function of memeory as well as the imagination, reminding him (and us) of the places we have loved and left and reminding us us well that we cannot go home again execpt as visitors.
Since 1999, Manel’s studio has been located under the Manhattan Bridge, two blocks from the East River, and the freeform shapes of his earlier works now co-exist with the grids of the cityscapes that he sees from his windows. Like Jim Bird before him (and at his suggestion), Manel came to Madison in August 1991 to create a series of monotypes at Wayne Taylor’s Stoughton studios, some of which we are shown here along with some of his paintings, drawings, and etchings. Spaightwood has been showing Manel Lledos since 1989, and we have a large inventory of his works (paintings on canvas, watercolors, gouaches, drawings, monotypes, and etchings.
1955 Born in Barcelona.
1963 Began his studies on painting and sculpture at the workshop of the painter Victor Esteban Ripaux.
1970-72 Studied at the Escola d’Arts Aplicades i Oficis Artistics de la Llotja in Barcelona.
1972 Enrolled at the Escola Superior de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
1973 Awarded "Rafael Llimona" Prize at the Biennal de Pintura in Barcelona.
1975-76 Attended the Escola d’Arts Gràfiques in Barcelona.
1981 Moved to New York.
1984 Awarded the "Premio de las Américas" First Prize in Painting by the Spanish Consulate in New York; affiliated with Galeria Joan Prats, New York and Barcelona.
1985 Commissioned to make a mural for the Barcelona City Hall.
1995- Adjunct Professor at Kingsborough College, C.U.N.Y.; teaches painting and art history.
Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1987, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1999); "Works on Paper," Galeria Joan Prats-Artgràfic, Barcelona (1987, 1989, 1998, 2006); Spaightwood Galleries, Madison WI (1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001); Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles (1990); Galeria Jacobo Karpio, San José, Costa Rica (1990); Jerrard Gallery, Toronto (1991); Flanders Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (1995, 2003).
Main collective exhibitions:
Biennal de Pintura, Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona (1973, 1977); "Four Abstract Artists," Ollantay Gallery, NYC (1982); First Graphic Art Biennal, Cayman Gallery, NYC (1982); Third Graphic Art Biennal, Cayman Gallery, NYC (1984); Arch Gallery, NYC (1984); Galeria Joan Prats, NYC: (1984, 1985, and 1987), Jim Bird and Manel Lledos (1997); "Recent Works," curated by B. Narkis at the Art University of Jerusalem, Israel (1985); "New Dimensions," Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1985); "Seven Spanish Artists," International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C. (1986); "Preview, 1986," Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1986); International Art Fair, Chicago, with Galeria Joan Prats (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001); "Four Spanish Painters," Nippon Club Gallery, New York (1987); Los Angeles International Art Fair, with Galeria Joan Prats (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990); Miami International Art Fair, with Galeria Joan Prats (1998); "Gallery Artists," Galeria Joan Prats, Los Angeles (1987); Cover Arts New York, Salon des Artistes Gallery, NYC (1987); "Revisited," Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1987); "Contemporary Spanish Masters from Barcelona," New Gallery, Houston, Texas (1988); "Spanish Artists," Flanders Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (1988, 1991, 2002); "Artists From Spain," The River Gallery, Westport, Connecticut (1988); "Five From Spain," Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1988); "Small Format," Spaightwood Galleries, Madison WI (1990); "Paradigma 80s-90s," Galeria Jacobo Karpio, San José, Costa Rica (1990); "Expressive Drawings," New York Academy of Art (1991); Miami International Art Fair (1991); "Small Format," Galeria Joan Prats, NYC (1991); Gallery 72, Omaha, Nebraska (1992); "In the Spirit of Joan Prats," David Anderson Gallery, Buffalo NY (1993); Brenda Kroos Gallery, Cleveland OH (1993); "Broken Spontaneity," Joan Prats Gallery, NYC (1994), Roger Smith Gallery, NY (1996), Spaightwood Galleries: "Abstract Art" (2000); "Spain and the Spirit of Modernism: Picasso, Miró, Tàpies, Artigas, Lledós" (2001); "John Himmelfarb and Manel Lledos" (2002); "Drawings from the Late 15th Century to the Early 21st Century" (2003); Spaightwood Galleries, Inc (Upton MA): Inaugural Show (2005); Galeria Joan Prats-Art Grafic, Barcelona, Spain (2006).
Bibliography: Jane Bell, "Manuel Lledos," ARTnews (October 1987), 186 (illustrated); Susan Chadwick, "Barcelona’s Best: Informalist Works at New Gallery," The Houston Post (17 January 1988), 7F (illustrated); Holland Cotter, "Manel Lledos," ARTnews (May 1990), 213 (illustrated); Julia Friedman, "Melancholia II: An Interview with Manel Lledós," Andrew D. Weiner and Leonard V. Kaplan, ed. Madness, Melancholy, and the Limits of the Self: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1996); Kyle Macmillan, "Spanish Artists Rise and Shine," Omaha World Herald (Summer 1993, illustrated); Jacob Stockinger, "Catalan art represents protest as well as culture," The Capital Times (Madison WI, 28 July 1988), 40 (illustrated); Lily Wei, Manel Lledos (Baarcelona: Galeria Joan Prats, 1998); Michael Welzenbach, review of International Monetary Fund exhibition, The Washington Times (12 June 1986); Karen Wilkin, "At the Galleries," Partisan Review (Winter 1992), 114-6 (illustrated); Karen Wilkin, Sequencies 2004-2006 (Barcelona: Galeria Joan Prats, 2006.