The venerable abject. In his paintings Samori' layers and fuses images on canvas, wood or copper and then obliterating them by scratching, erasing, fingering and painting over the surfaces multiple times create a new skin that bears the bruises and permanent marks of all prior creative efforts.
Nicola Samori makes seductive, profound paintings by layering and fusing images on canvas, wood or copper and then obliterating them by scratching, erasing, fingering and painting over the surfaces multiple times. By violating the golden rule of all museums ("Please do not touch the artwork.") Samori is making art history by corrupting his own work and imposing a new Samori on top. The resulting layers of paint create a new skin that bears the bruises and permanent marks of all prior creative efforts.
Selecting portraits and still lifes from classical paintings but also sourcing random faces and images from the Web, Samori is engaged in a project about time and corrosion. Mythological and religious figures dominate Samori canvasses. In "L Abietto Venerabile" the two hands held up with open palms signal readable gestures (surrender, grace, or blessing) but the spliced visage is streaked with horror. In "Tantalo" based on the Greek myth of Tartalus's eternal punishment, several portraits sit on top of one another, making it impossible to determine which figure the artist is honoring. The viewer may interpret the mythic or religious connotations of the many visible arms and wardrobe changes of this saintly figure-but time has contributed to his (or her) erasure.
Samori has assumed the role of creator and destroyer thereby giving him license to speed up or freeze time and to reincarnate from one life to the next in between lunch. (Samori lives and paints in a Renaissance church in Bagnacavallo, Italy.) By assuming this artist privilege to make and to erase (to give and to take), Samori is offering us his deeply personal views about life and death. Each work beats a pulse; giant blots and thumbprints of color race across the surfaces only to be stalled by a pileup of oil paint. In that moment of halt, the viewer is invited to look into the keyhole of the experiences already lived.
Nicola Samori was born in Forli, Italy, in 1977 and studied at the Accademia d'Arte in Bologna. Samorì exhibited in numerous international institutions and museums. In 2011 his work was included in the Italian Pavillon at the 54. Biennale di Venecia and at Pallazzo Reale in Milano in a group exhibition with Nicola De Maria, Mimmo Paladino and Ettore Spalletti. Kunsthalle Tübingen in Germany scheduled a solo presentation of Samori for September 2012.
Image: Nicola Samori, Shrine, 2012, oil on linen, 79 x 118 in (200 x 300 cm)
Opening Thursday, May 17, 2012, 6 - 8pm
Ana Cristea Gallery
521 West 26th Street
Tuesday - Saturday from 11am to 6pm