by baad lamb
Go here first if you have not already read about Nicola Verlato and Evol at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery April 7th to May 5th.
Loved the show! But I also had 8PM ticket to Dance Brazil at the Joyce, so I was unable to spend as much time as I'd have liked (gallery opened at 7). One thing I forgot to do was consult the price sheet so I would know how much each of these artists currently command for their work. I will go back, since the show is up till May 5th, and I strongly encourage everyone to check it out. Like the best movies, Verlato should be seen "on the big screen," and Evol's meticulous precision is best appreciated very close up.
The stark contrasts between these two artists may be the point of showing them together. Verlato's compositions are all about Renaissance realism, with so much color and motion that people are literally flying through the air, while Evol's people-less architectural waste-scapes are so still and silent and cardboard-beige they feel totally airless. But they share the stage in at least one important aspect: the painstaking, time consuming process of bringing their visions to fruition. Whether Evol's smallest piece of found cardboard or Verlato's epic canvases, the sketching, refining, painting, cutting, masking, spraying, masking and spraying again, touch-ups and tiny finishing details all track a similar hands-on style of slow and deliberate craftsmanship that is increasingly rare in our instantaneous internet twitterverse. If they were to meet up, I'll bet they'd spend a lot of time sharing frisket tips and techniques.
Tons of pics after the jump...
Note: Now that the show has opened, you'll find gallery-produced full-sized non-distorted photos of all of the works on their website. All the photos here are by me; many are cropped to a specific detail.
For instance, here are two opposite corners of the largest painting "Burzum" (shown in full, above, as the lead photo in this post), named for a Norwegian black metal band. The painting relates to founder and convicted murderer and church arsonist Varg Vikernes. In the painting's upper left corner, a near naked man seems to be taking a break from the activities on the bed while he accepts a pizza delivery. In the extreme opposite corner "The Forbidden Image" lays atop a Disney book. Look back at the full painting and you'll also see Jimi Hendrix floating among the naked entanglement in the air!
Verlato, born and raised in Italy, must have seen plenty of church ceilings with story-telling scenes of Christian blood, guts and glory, by artists with amazing abilities to execute complex perspectives.
His "Conquest of the West", is the centerpiece of the main room, and highlights the theme of this "How the West Was Won" show, described by the gallery as the "culture clash between monotheism and polytheism". Contained within this stylized cowboys and Indians epic battle is the castration of the conqueror by a Native American woman just as she succumbs. Like the "Psycho" shower scene, we only see the blood and the knife (or tomahawk), but the horror is no less real.
I wonder what these ladies were thinking?
Arrows fly, guns expel bullets, knives pierce chests, hungry vultures circle above and bide their time.
OK. After all that noise and carnage, how 'bout a little peace and quiet? As one who spends a great deal of wandering-time in New York's industrial edges, I feel an odd comfort lost in Evol's back alleys and dirty cardboard.
Note the precise and finely detailed brick work, including haphazard repairs, in the second photo. It is a close up of the area just above the low-slung roof near the bottom in the full work.