Michael Bevilacqua, George Condo and Jane Simpson. As humans, we collect, absorb, and interpret, thereby creating our own realities. In a very literal sense, this is the artist's process in creating a still-life. A few items placed on a table become a vision on a world.
Michael Bevilacqua, George Condo and Jane Simpson
As humans, we collect (objects, images, stories, ideasâ€¦), absorb, and interpret, thereby creating our own realities. In a very literal sense, this is the artistâ€™s process in creating a still-life. Objects, usually familiar and often mundane, are represented in such a way that the artist claims them and makes them his own. A few items placed on a table become a vision on a world.
Michael Bevilacqua is an obsessive collector of objects and imagery relating to pop-culture â€“ music, movies, fashion, animation, art. Out of this collection, Bevilacqua has developed a personal iconography; he combines disparate imagery to create layered, graphically dynamic compositions, both two and three-dimensional. In the still-life paintings exhibited at Sandra Gering Gallery, Bevilacqua juxtaposes the classic composition of bottles on a table (clearly referencing Giorgio Morandi) with references to bands The Ramones and Minor Threat. There are hints of Morandi in Bevilacquaâ€™s sculpture, Broken Swing Sets $7, as well, in which paper coffee cups sit one on top of the other, the resulting towers echoing the Italian painterâ€™s curvaceous bottles. Items from Bevilacquaâ€™s studio â€“ paintbrushes, rags, paint containers â€“ rest on the table next to the coffee cups, along with a drawing of a bottle. The drawing is propped up to stand as if it were a real bottle, emphasizing the confusion between art and â€œreal lifeâ€ inherent in a sculpture made with objects actually used by the artist.
Jane Simpsonâ€™s fascination with the still-lifes of Morandi has inspired a body of work in which she transforms his paintings, etchings, and drawings into three-dimensional sculptures created in a variety of materials, including ceramic and rubber. Upon viewing Simpsonâ€™s elegant groupings of vessels, one experiences a sense of â€œDonâ€™t I know you from somewhere?â€ For the characters in these group portraits (and they do look very much like portraits) seem familiar. But as Morandi interpreted his objects, Simpson, by the very act of re-creating the objects, re-interprets them and makes them her own. This is particularly true of Fresh/Fresher, a sculpture of roses in vases that Simpson based on two different Morandi paintings, one of which shows the roses slightly more in bloom.
In George Condoâ€™s painting, vegetables gather on a table for what had the potential to be a formal, classic still-life. Condoâ€™s vegetables are hardly nature morte, though; they are alive and well, demonstrated by the fact that the vegetables are smoking cigarettes. The decadent yellow pepper even smokes three cigarettes at the same time. Hovering above the table is a single carrot, abstaining from cigarettes, watching over the scene below. Although Condo is not known for still-life paintings, the work is immediately recognizable as being by his hand. If anyone were to eat vegetables like this â€“ absurd, somewhat grotesque, and definitely comical â€“ it would be the characters that inhabit the world of George Condoâ€™s portraits.
Image: Michael Bevilacqua, Blue Life, 2004
Opening reception: 17 february, 6-8pm
sandra gering gallery, 534 west 22 st, nyc
Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm.