Spring/Break Art Show New York: Naked Lunch -- Renaissance Revels and Rites
For SPRING/BREAK New York 2022, 532 Gallery Jaeckel presents six artists whose work celebrates, explores, and explodes the idea of artistic rebirth through the theme of Naked Lunch: Renaissance Revels and Rites. A visual carnival of themes and ideas, the exhibit presents a contemporary cornucopia of aesthetic plenty.
Naked Lunch asks, "what can be preserved, reasserted, rediscovered from Greek philosophy, ancient teachings, myth?" John Alexander Parks's Putti paintings answer the question with sardonic re-workings of, and commentaries upon, high Renaissance themes of the angelic and the earthly, using beautifully rendered cherubs to substitute for the traditional classical figures of the constellations filling the night sky, or with combinations of putti interacting in sprawling vistas of exultation and damnation - in other words, "troubles in paradise both celebratory and enraged," as the prospectus has it. Elio Rodríguez's "Jungla Desnuda" pieces, including "Black Jungle", toy with the ideas of the skin, growth, color, foliage - all central preoccupations of the neo-Renaissance imagination. Jean-Guerly Pétion's "Echo and Narcissus" manifests Ovid's mythological narrative with highly distinctive graphical sensibility, using techniques from painting, mixed media and assemblage. His painting "Quick Reclining Gesture" presents a Black version of the odalisque nudes so beloved of classical sculpture - a "Neo-Renaissance return to Nature, the Body, figuration, and metaphors of nudity … often al fresco."
The German painter Heidrun Rathgeb's connection to the Renaissance is perhaps the most straightforward of all, as her hallucinatory nightscapes are executed using egg tempera, a medium dating to ancient Egypt, whose precise, jewel-like colors were beloved of late medieval painters and beyond. And the classical idea of the antiquarian sculpture - its limnification of the sensuous in cold marble - finds an unnervingly contemporary echo in the sculptures of Paco Marcial, which do indeed serve as a version of "the archaic torso of Apollo."
Paco Marcial explores the notions of brutality, beauty, precarity, speed and fantasy in his work through sculptural objects tinged with reminiscences of motorsport racing, verging on oneiric romanticism mostly when he's trying to build his own Maserati.
John A. Parks, born 1952 in Leeds, England, is a painter who has shown widely in the United States and England over the last thirty years. His work is represented in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal College of Art Collection, the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design and many private collections. He received his M.A.(R.C.A.) in Painting from Royal College of Art, London, England (1973-76), and his B.A. in Fine Art from Hull College of Art, Hull, England (1970–73).
Jean-Guerly Pétion was born in Haiti and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA) and at CalArts (MFA). His paintings confront emotionally charged first- and third-world class issues via theoretical texts and compelling images. His art has been featured in the California African American Museum and the 18th Street Art Center. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Heidrun Rathgeb was born in 1967 in southern Germany. She studied painting in London at the Slade School of Fine Art (1996-99) and the Byam Shaw School of Art (1993-96). Since 2001 she has lived with her family in a remote farmhouse close to Lake Constance and the Alps.
Elio Rodriguez was born in 1966, and lives and works in Spain. His practice is engaged with the system of judgments about a person, a culture or phenomenon. Tapping the prism of Caribbean popular culture, its underlying humor and clichés formed about the culture, he builds witty and sensual works that seemingly incarnate that reality, and subtly and continuously question it. His practice encompasses painting, installations, sculptures, prints, ceramics, and soft sculpture interacting with chosen objects.