Brian Calvin | Wendy White

Opening Friday 21_04_2017_19:00 | 22_04_2017 : 24_06_2017

curated by Maria Chiara Valacchi

Photo: Filippo Armellin

Cabinet inaugura Venerdì 21 Aprile 2017 la doppia personale di Brian Calvin e Wendy White a cura di Maria Chiara Valacchi.

Nella gestazione di un’opera cinematografica l’importanza dell’attore principale è spesso sottolineato dal numero di close-up assegnati; un campo di ripresa stretto su un primo piano che trascura il contesto e ne amplifica l’efficacia descrittiva. Un particolare dotato in realtà di una struttura complessa, ma spesso obliata, che in pittura può essere inteso sia sotto il profilo fenomenologico che ontologico. Brian Calvin e Wendy White si soffermano sull’ontologia del peculiare, tramutando un dettaglio iconico nell’oggetto “rivelatore” e scompaginando il dispositivo della rappresentazione.

Brian Calvin (Visalia, CA, 1969) non è interessato ad uno sviluppo narrativo ma alla luce e al realismo che trasferisce nell’esecuzione di grandi volti dai caratteri abnormi e dalle espressioni imperturbabili. Nella definizione di profili, labbra e occhi c’è un estrema semplificazione dei tratti e delle campiture che, mutuando un’estetica pubblicitaria, lascia spazio ad una lettura empatica e libera. Eseguiti ad olio e ad acrilico e ancorati ad un immaginario culturale e iconico prettamente americano, i suoi soggetti mutano in vere e proprie astrazioni sperimentali grazie a un processo di rielaborazione per mezzo di ampi salti di scala, interpolazioni di texture e vuoti cromatici. L’opera di Wendy White (Deep River, CT, 1972) è permeata di caratteri iconografici, scritte cubitali e marchi sportivi, metabolizzati e utilizzati dall’artista quali archetipi di un personale codice pittorico. Il colore fluorescente steso a pennello e ad aerografo, insieme ad elementi solidi come reti o forme 3D, si articola in una sovrapposizione di layers per sfuggire alla dinamica classica del supporto bidimensionale e trasformandosi sovente in vera e propria scultura. I suoi lavori ricchi di contaminazioni ed elementi street, coniugano temi alti a citazioni di sotto-cultura sociale in un processo di selezione di segni “pop” da elevare all’arte.

Per Cabinet, i due artisti, costruiscono un corpo di opere inedite connesse da una comune riduzione dell’immagine ai suoi principi necessari. White realizza sagome piatte in dibond nero raffiguranti cuori “pixelati”, nuvole piangenti e arcobaleni stilizzati, che si articolano nello spazio centrale della galleria; sospesi dal soffitto e complanari ai muri perimetrali, costruiscono un contrappunto aereo e cromatico con i tre grandi close-up pittorici di Calvin. Come asseriva il critico Aby Warburg “il buon Dio si annida nel dettaglio” e qui lo spettatore è obbligato ad esaminare da vicino spazialità, temporalità e materialità del lavoro proiettandolo verso un percorso d'osservazione vergine ed analitico. I due artisti prendono le distanze dalle pratiche tradizionali svelando subito l’elemento incognito, discordante e singolare, che il critico Daniel Arasse ci insegna ad interpretare come la chiave per scoprire che l’opera “non racconta solamente una storia” - ma - “la pensa”.

In the making of a cinematographic work, the importance of the central actor is often underlined by the number of close-ups assigned, close-ups that limit the scope of the image and place it in the foreground, disregarding the context and augmenting the descriptive efficacy; a component actually equipped with a complex structure, though often forgotten, in painting it can be framed both phenomenologically and ontologically. Brian Calvin and Wendy White linger over the ontology of the peculiar, transforming an iconic detail into the 'revelatory' object and disrupting the system of representation.

Brian Calvin (Visalia, CA, 1969) is not interested in narrative development, but rather in the light and realism that he communicates through the execution of great countenances with abnormal dispositions and imperturbable expressions. In the sharpness of their profiles, lips and eyes, one can see an extreme simplification of features and backgrounds resulting in, with the adoption of an advertisement-like aesthetic, room left to empathetic and open interpretations. Executed in oils and acrylics and anchored to an essentially American cultural and iconic imaginary, his subjects turn into real and signature experimental abstractions thanks to a process of reworking by means of ample jumps in scale, interpolations of texture and shades. The work of Wendy White (Deep River, CT, 1972) is permeated by iconographic characters, large writing and sport brands, metabolised and used by the artist as archetypes of a personal pictorial code. The fluorescent colour animated by paintbrush and spray gun, together with the solid elements like nets or 3D forms, articulates itself in the overlap of layers in order to escape the classic dynamic of two-dimensional support, and often manages to transform itself into true sculpture. Her works are ripe with contamination and street elements, combining high-class themes with references to a social subculture, all in the process of selecting 'pop' symbols to elevate to art status.

For Cabinet, these two artists have created a body of original works connected through their shared reduction of the image to its fundamental features. White creates flat shapes in black dibond depicting 'pixelated' hearts, crying clouds and stylised rainbows, all of which articulate themselves in the central space of the gallery; suspended from the ceiling and coplanar to the perimetrical walls, they constitute an aerial and chromatic counterpoint to Calvin's three large pictorial close-ups. The critic Aby Warburg asserted, 'God is in the detail', and here the spectator is in fact obligated to closely examine spatiality, temporality and materiality in the works, projecting her or him towards a virgin and analytical path of observation. The two artists distance themselves from traditional practices, revealing immediately the unfamiliar element, discordant and singular, which the critic Daniel Arasse teaches us to interpret as the key to discovering that the work ‘does not only tell a story’ but ‘also thinks it’.

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Brian Calvin
Visalia, CA, 1969. Lives and works in Ojai, CA

Selected and Recent Solo Exhibitions: 2017 Major Minor, Corvi Mora, London, Brian Calvin - Wendy White, Cabinet, Milan, States, Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels; 2016 Early Work, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, Hours, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, The Meditations: Chicago 1991 - 1999, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; 2015 End of Messages, Mu.ZEE, Ostend, End of Messages, Le Consortium, Dijon; 2014 Brian Calvin, Anton Kern Gallery, New York; 2013 Brian Calvin, Corvi-Mora, London; 2011 Brian Calvin, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; 2010 Brian Calvin, Corvi-Mora, London; 2009 Head, Anton Kern Gallery, New York; 2007 Brian Calvin, Corvi-Mora, London, Things, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; 2006 Brian Calvin, Anton Kern Gallery, New York; 2005 Brian Calvin, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, Brian Calvin Corvi-Mora, London.

Selected and Recent Group Exhibitions: 2016 6 Implosion 20, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, Outside, curated by Matthew Higgs, Karma, Amagansett, New York, Wild Style, Peres Projects, Berlin; 2015 The Shell (Landscapes, Portraits & Shapes), a show by Eric Troncy, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris; 2013 California Landscape Into Abstraction: Works From The Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; 2012 We The People, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Project Space, New York; 2011 Dystopia, CAPC Museé d’art Contemporain de Bordeaux; 2010 This and That, Corvi-Mora, London; 2008 Dinner and a Group Show, GBE@passerby, New York, Pretty Ugly, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Maccarone, New York.

Wendy White
Deep River, CT, 1971. Lives and works in New York

Selected and Recent Solo Exhibitions: 2017 Wendy White, VAN HORN, Düsseldorf, Brian Calvin - Wendy White, Cabinet, Milan; 2016 Santa Cruz, Eric Firestone Loft, New York; 2015 Skiing, Galerie Jérôme Pauchant, Paris, Double Vanity, Sherrick & Paul, Nashville, 12th Man, David Castillo Gallery, Miami; 2014 El Campo, VAN HORN, Düsseldorf; 2013 Pick Up a Knock, Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, Sports Moment, Makebish, New York, Wendy White, Maruani and Noirhomme, Brussels; 2012 Pix Vää, Leo Koenig, Inc, New York, Radio Lampor, VAN HORN, Düsseldorf; 2010 Up w/Briquette, Leo Koenig, Inc, New York; 2009 Autokennel, Leo Koenig, Inc, New York.

Selected and Recent Group Exhibitions: 2017 Vatic Utterance, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, Lob des Schattens, Marc Straus Gallery, New York, Small Painting, County Gallery, Palm Beach, Man Alive, Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels; 2016 Mount Analogue, Performance Ski, Aspen, Temporary Highs, bitforms, New York, Whatspace, Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton; 2015 Painting is Not Doomed to Repeat Itself, Hollis Taggart, New York, All Killer No Filler, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, Black/White, Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York; 2014 Sha Boogie Bop, Anonymous Gallery, New York, Amerika, David


03/03/2017