States Of Being

Carlos Vega

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Carlos Vega’s work incorporates historical documents in order to explore questions about humanity, both from the perspective of the individual and of society as a collective. He incorporates antique ledgers, typed cards from library catalogs, postage stamps, newspaper and labels into paintings on canvas and, more recently, on lead, which he punctures, etches and paints. “There is something really sensual about the material,” he said relating to working with lead in a recent interview during a 2013 residency at the Lux Institute of Art in Encinitas, CA. “Maybe it’s that every scratch you make becomes shiny and like silver, or there is something about the malleability and softness of the material that makes you almost believe that you can be like Midas.”

Vega often employs allegorical iconography loaded with associations, such as trees, with their implicit references to family trees or trees of life, and animals, especially donkeys and elephants. He commented recently in an article in the San Diego Union Tribune that “Donkeys in Spain are human condition... We are donkeys. We never learn. We follow the same path over and over.”

Vega studied at the University of Fine Arts in Seville, Spain (1986) and then the University of Fine Arts in Madrid (1988). He continued to study at the Talleres de Art Actual in Madrid from 1988 to 1990 but thought the teaching was too strict. To branch out Vega did graduate work at The Art Institute of Chicago from 1990 to 1991. He currently splits his time between New York and Granada, Spain.

Vega’s work hangs in a number of museums and public spaces including the Columbia Business School, New York, Instituto Cervantes, New York, Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village, Ohio, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Palacio de los Condes de Gabia, Grenada, Spain, Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada, and the Pizzuti Companies, Columbus, OH. Most recently, Vega had a solo show Carlos Vega: See You Now at the Orlando Museum of Art, March 14 - June 14, 2015.

Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Vega since 1997 and his solo exhibitions in the gallery include A Piece of Glass and a Sheet of Paper (2001), Idle Traveler (2003), Fables (2004), Pure Science (2007), In Plain Sight (2011) and Tearing and Lifting (2012). His most recent solo exhibition at the gallery was Faith Need Not Fear Reason (December 2015).


King of the Hill
20th Street, Jul 12 – Aug 09, 2019
24th Street, Feb 22 – Mar 30, 2019
The Coffins of Paa Joe...
24th Street, Jun 08 – Aug 25, 2017
Faith Need Not Fear Reason
24th Street, Oct 29 – Dec 05, 2015
Status Quo
The School, Jan 31 – Apr 12, 2015
Tearing & Lifting
20th Street, Apr 26 – Jun 02, 2012
In Plain Sight
20th Street, Jan 06 – Feb 05, 2011
Pure Science
20th Street, Sep 22 – Oct 06, 2007
20th Street, Jun 29 – Jul 28, 2006