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We Can Start Over Again by Jose Palacios, exhibited at Alliance Française Ottawa. Photo: Rémi Thériault.

Jose Palacios’s We Can Start Over Again on display at Alliance Française Ottawa until June 23

By Sonya Gankina on May 17, 2022

We Can Start Over Again is Jose Palacios’s first solo exhibition, on display at Alliance Française Ottawa until June 23. I attended the opening reception last week, surrounded by a buzzing atmosphere of excited creatives, with a DJ curating the perfect vibe in the background. I spoke with Palacios about his work, amidst gentle interruptions by friends coming up to say “Congratulations!”

Born in Lima, Peru, Palacios is a visual artist, musician, and DJ who works and lives here in Ottawa. His paintings, which include both digital works and those on canvas and paper, have also been shown in exhibitions at Galerie Annexe at the Ottawa Art Gallery and the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery.

The new collection is a breath of fresh air. The bright colours pique your curiosity. The eyes explore the countless textures and elements, from an oil stick red circle to paper collaged onto another painting, hungry for more. And more there is—Palacios only started painting in 2018 but created 23 large works on canvas in the span of only a few months for this exhibition.

We Can Start Over Again by Jose Palacios, exhibited at Alliance Française Ottawa. Photo: Rémi Thériault.

A noticeable pattern of repetition gives dimension and familiarity to the abstract paintings, creating a comforting sense of recognition, and borrowing from the artist’s experience as a DJ. “As a musician, once I connected the process of creating music with art, I started to see it visually and was able to dig deeper. I put a lot on canvas and then strip it away—there are often one or two whole paintings underneath,” said Palacios.

The exhibition’s name is positive and the collection evokes a sense of playfulness and hope, but it came to life as the artist was processing personal and collective grief during the pandemic isolation. “I was able to get a grant and secure a studio, so it was very meaningful to me to be able to get up every morning and go to a studio,” he said.

We Can Start Over Again by Jose Palacios, exhibited at Alliance Française Ottawa. Photo: Rémi Thériault.

Carrying a lot of personal significance, we can see the freedom of emotional, expressive movement in the work. “During studio time, I always started on paper first to get the free-flowing energy and then moved to the canvas,” explained Palacios. “Making these big pieces took physical energy, but I am grateful I had a studio to be able to be free with my movement.”


Visit Alliance Française Ottawa to view the exhibition in person or to purchase a piece.