Newark Museum Acquires Artwork by Puerto Rican Artist Jo-El Lopez

 Artist Jo El Lopez, Background Art by Gilbert Hsiao, Photographer: Gilbert Hsiao

NEWARK, NJ – Gallery Aferro is pleased to announce the acquisition by the Newark Museum of a painting by current artist-in-residence Jo-El Lopez. Millennial Guardian Angel, first exhibited in Lopez’ solo show at Gallery Aferro in 2016, will be accessioned into the Newark Museum’s permanent collection of American art and will be included in a future installation of contemporary art in the Museum’s Seeing America galleries. Lopez is inspired by the usage of technology as “millennial’s most defining characteristic”, as well as “their tech-based rituals that other generations find intriguing.”
Born in Juncos, Puerto Rico and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Lopez uses the visual storytelling of traditional realism to convey complex commentary on the intersection of faith and modernity and the multidimensional contemporary urban experience. The decades the artist spent under the Pentecostal doctrine, a bold color palette informed by both abstract painting as well as older traditions of icon-making, all meld to create Lopez’s kaleidoscopic worldview. His is a restless, deeply engaged spirit closely observing not only his immediate environment, but the larger historic trajectory of national news.
Millennial Guarding. Angel, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 48x72

Millennial Guardian Angel’s is representative of Lopez’ emotional range, sense of spirituality, and playfulness. “Other works created during the same period, such as The Kiss at the 16th Avenue Baptist Church, depicting two women kissing within the church, and The Virgin Miracle, depicting the mother of Jesus as a woman of color mirthfully in possession of mysterious knowledge, seem to exist in a timeless space of love and resistance”, writes Gallery Director Emma Wilcox.