Arancio, Heikes, Norsten, Pandian, Sala, Sherwood @ Roma

September 5 – October 31, 2016
Federica Schiavo Gallery Roma
Piazza Montevecchio 16. 00186 Rome

After the summer break, Federica Schiavo Gallery is delighted to present a selection of works by Salvatore Arancio, Jay Heikes, Todd Norsten, Andrea Sala e Rob Sherwood in a group show that is conceived to foster the dialogue between different artistic practices but that have in common the constant research of signs and symbols from the contemporary world, both real and digital.

The photo-etchings by Salvatore Arancio (Catania, 1974) focus on imagery recurrent in 19th century geological illustrations. The artist, by using these suggestions and their literal meaning as a starting point, transforms them into poetic and visionary interpretations of nature. Arancio creates indeed new juxtapositions that are both beautifully evocative and deeply disquieting. The artist looks at nature and science as his sources of inspiration, while unsettling any hint of the sublime by re-framing the images and the viewer’s experience. His constructed landscapes contain a sense of both the familiar and the unknown that enhances their symbolic readings and implications.

Jay Heikes (Princeton, 1975) works with several media from sculpture, video, installation and ready made to performance, sharing in every project an ironic, grotesque and amused attitude that characterizes his production in order to reveal the precariousness of every reference to the real, the continuous changing of every cultural and visual reference from a form to another.

Heikes presents Our Frankenstein (top), a work produced for the group show Consequences at Fondazione Giuliani (Rome, 2014). The work is conceived as a tentative to create an artistic collaboration and its result is like a patchwork, an assemblage of dresses used by other artist that seems to be alienating but, as Heikes itself explains, this work would like to display “the only space we have left; one that exists amongst a small group of friends that are enamored with each other and slightly suspicious of the outside world”

Todd Norsten’s (Sunburg, 1967) research begins with texts and images he founds during his travels: fragments of everyday life function as a visual diary and a subtle reflection, humorous and bitter at the same time, which explore the commercial culture and the daily reality of the Western society by using references and tackling inconvenient subjects, ranging over from pop culture to religion. Words and discrete images, whether they are handmade or mechanically produced, aim for a direct and simplified deposit of information with the singular purpose of re-contextualizing the texts in a completely different system of communication.

Karthik Pandian (Los Angeles, 1981) makes works in moving image and sculpture. His process is defined by a particular approach to vision: how to recognize the play of time, labor, and meaning in things. The artist, who presents in the exhibition the sculpture Fountain, transforms material and arranges seemingly disparate objects to render that play more visible.

Andrea Sala’s (Como, 1976) artistic research, inspired by the traditional aesthetic and by the XIX Century’s avant-gardes, in particular in Architecture and Visual Arts, ends up in the essentiality of the shapes and in the use of traditional techniques on industrial materials or vice versa. Anonimo Brasiliano is a rosewood-made sculpture that derives from the tradition of Brazilian’s design from the Sixties and that recalls the lessons of Rationalism, Arte Povera and Minimalism and is a “table-like sculpture” that invades the wall in a zoomorphic attitude. Untitled could be read instead as the destructuration of a painting: infact Andrea Sala breaks up the structure of a painting where the glass becomes the canvas and the ceramic element, made like the becomes the supporting structure as a sort of frame.

The exhibition includes works by Rob Sherwood (Bristol, 1984) taken from different ongoing series such as The White Palm Trees and it introduces a new series of enlarged abstractions he refers to as Blow Ups. These new paintings continue Rob Sherwood’s investigations into the traditional values of painting (gesture and materiality) when met with a screen-centric and commodified visual culture. The White Palm Trees series were inspired by posters of tropical islands he saw stuck above computer desktops in an office and provides a distinctly gentle counterpoint to the Blow Ups which are realized by enlarging some small scale abstractions. The process of transforming them faithfully into larger works renders them representational, they become paintings of paintings.