By Ingrid María Jiménez Martínez
Jorge Sierra, a San Juan native, all the way down to his grandparents. Has a BA from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture School of Fine Arts, where he learned as a disciple from artists of the stature of Jose Alicea, Augusto Marin, Lorenzo Omar, Luis Hernandez Cruz and Fran Cervoni. Being a lifelong San Juan resident, he had the advantage of being friends with artists such as Antonio Maldonado, Emilio Diaz Valcarcel, Clara Lair, Rafael Tufino, Amilcar Tirado, Julio Rosado del Valle, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Carlos Irizarry and Elizam Escobar, among others.
He has participated in numerous collective and individual exhibits, being the most recent individual ones, two at the Botello Gallery in Old San Juan, and at la Casa del Libro Museum.
Jorge Sierra’s work is a series of pictoric statements about the nature of painting and the spatial limits of its representations. The artist has given an innovative spin to the relationship between the frame and the painting, the outside and the inside, and the spatial limits of the composition. Sierra retains the shapes; however, he abandons, in part, the illusory space, using it instead to create flat collages of strong contours. He integrates the frame to the composition, and some of the figures, like those on his paintings titled El Lenguilargo, Queer Queen and Los Agujeros whose borders manage to escape, are related to the content of the painting. His transgression of the borders is not only a formal issue, but also becomes poetic, ideological and social. Even when the frame is thought of as an insurmountable physical limit, the figures escape from that confinement suggesting a complex reality the composition has a very hard time retaining or accounting for. The frame in Sierra’s work offers the freedom or the possibility of breaking free as a promise. Being able to break free as a promise of happiness substitutes Stendhal’s famous phrase “Beauty is a promise of happiness”. To my understanding, it is in this strength wherein the poetic bias of Outside the Frame resides. Sierra seems to be telling us that the pursuit of self-determination is the way to face the most pressing issues of our times.