Uslé’s abstractions are evocative of the colors, light and space of his Northern Spanish homeland and the density, energy and unpredictability of New York City. Born in Santander, Spain, in 1954, Uslé studied art in Valencia and moved to New York in the late 1980s; he had his first solo show in 1988. He now spends time between the city and Cantabria, Spain, near his boyhood home. Both places provide Uslé with a feeling of “displacement” - an important theme for his work. As he says: “I’ve always felt something strange, ‘displaced,’ in the various places I’ve lived. When we would go to my grandparents’ town, I would watch the other children of my age and wonder: why do we – my family and me – not live there too?” Later, in New York, Uslé felt a similar sensation, which was perpetuated as he “stumbled from place to place.” Despite many moves, and having studios in several locations, the feeling followed: “We are not of a specific place; rather we are/belong to them all.”
Juan Uslé has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Es Baluard, Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca (2010); the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga (2007); S.M.A.K., Ghent, Fundación Botín, Cantabria, Spain, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2004); the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2003); the Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2002); and the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern and MACBA Museum, Barcelona (1996). He was also included in the 2005 Venice Biennale, Documenta IX (1992), the 1992 Istanbul Biennial, and the 1985 Bienal de São Paulo. In 2014, a major exhibition of Uslé’s Soñe que revelabas series was presented at the Kunstmuseum Bonn. The exhibition, titled Dark Light, traveled to the CGAC Museum, Santiago de Compostela.