b. 1979, Argentina
The practice of the Argentinian artist Valentina Liernur is rooted in an ongoing exploration of the ways in which material can be rendered in the pursuit of painting. Often working in groups of work defined by a single medium, Liernur considers the physical qualities and mark-making capacity of oil paint on canvas in the same way she engages with less conventional materials such as denim and gabardine in other series. Shifting between abstraction and figuration, and often encouraging tensions and slippages to emerge between these modes of painting, Liernur seeks to manipulate and enhance the materiality of her chosen medium, embedding each work with a distinct, visceral quality.
The majority of Liernur’s paintings in recent years focus on representations of female figures in everyday scenarios. Her observations are based on photographs of friends, family and strangers taken in various settings including domestic spaces, public transport and city streets. She often takes her photographs surreptitiously, resulting in works that capture fleeting moments that have an abrupt, confrontational and, at times, voyeuristic dynamic between the figures in the painting and the standpoint occupied by Liernur and subsequently the viewer. While her paintings borrow from the language of figuration and portraiture, for Liernur the true subject of her work is the paint she uses rather than the image she creates. Working intensively on each canvas, she builds multiple layers that shift between rough, spontaneous brushstrokes and slow, carefully executed details. Thinking of paint as information, Liernur likens her method of painting to the impulsive process of capturing thoughts in written form and the consequent, more methodical act of editing.