2019 Season II

Paolo Arao (Philippines / USA)


Artist Statement/ Biography

Paolo Arao explores ways of queering abstraction through sewn paintings, fabric collage and textile constructions. Using bold color and geometry, he often plays with subtle variations in color and repeated patterns to disrupt perceived symmetries. Rooted in geometric abstraction, Arao’s work stitches this lineage of painting with handicraft, layering it with a queer, cultural and personal narrative. Made with second hand clothing, hand dyed fabrics and used canvas drop cloths, the works resemble flags or quilts alluding to people and places as a coded visual language is woven into them. Through abstraction, Arao asks viewers to adjust their perspectives and expectations of what queerness looks like.


Paolo Arao is a Brooklyn-based, Filipino-American artist working in painting, textiles and collage. He received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Arao has shown his work in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally and has presented solo exhibitions at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Franklin Artworks in Minneapolis, Jeff Bailey Gallery and Barney Savage Gallery, both in NYC.
Residencies include: Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Studios at MASS MoCA, Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, LES Printshop Keyholder Residency, Wassaic Artist Residency, BRIC Workspace Residency and the Fire Island Artist Residency. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Drawing and his work has been featured in New American Paintings, Maake Magazine and Esopus.