Jan 1 – March 14, 2020
presents four international artists whose respective work repurposes classic art historical themes with a thoroughly contemporary perspective and process.
The recent work of the French collaborative duo Clement Kamena is a series of elaborate paintings rendered in classical style, which juxtapose traditional and historical figures with contemporary superheroes - Wonder Woman and Banksy coexist with figures from Poussin’s 1650 tableau ‘Coriolanus Supplicated by His Mother’; and caped crusader Batman, perched at the edge of a Chrylser Building gargoyle, curiously contemplates Icarus and his failed wings in freefall.
Spanish painter Lino Lago’s ‘Fake Abstract’ series reproduces portraits of 18th century female aristocracy by Boucher, Bougerau and Knapton, and then obscures them by overpainting in a swath of solid color, except for a thin sliver or squiggle, reminiscent of a finger dragged across a foggy window, to reveal a portion of the figure beneath. A product of the late Soviet epoch of perestroika, Ukrainian Arsen Savadov re-examines the postmodernist tool of appropriation. Savadov’s play with borrowed material aims to create a zone of relaxation and delight. The hand of Titian’s Mary Magdalene’s hand rests on Damien Hirst’s notorious paint-smeared skull; an angel from Nicolas Poussin’s Annunciation ponders a vinyl LP record—figments of the artist’s imagination grounded in his knowledge of art history transport the Old Masters to a contemporary dimension. Made from thousands of spools of thread, American Devorah Sperber’s barely recognizable, pixelated reproductions of Old Master paintings such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Van Eyck’s self-portrait, transform into exacting versions of the originals when viewed through an optical device. By deconstructing familiar images, Sperber prompts viewers to reflect on the discrepancy between what we see and how our brains process it.