After Vasari

writings on artists and artworks and where they exist

Tag: Slag Gallery

Energies & Echoes

by Paul D'Agostino

Dumitru Gorzo, Energies & Echoes, 2016. Image courtesy Slag Gallery

Dumitru Gorzo, Energies & Echoes, 2016. Image courtesy Slag Gallery

 

Energies & Echoes: Recent Paintings by Dumitru Gorzo

Dumitru Gorzo’s new body of paintings, an exquisite and compositionally electric series the Brooklyn-based artist produced while visiting a remote studio outpost in his home country Romania, evidence him taking his characteristic, indeed unmistakable mark-making into formal territories as relatively uncharted as the isolated, mountainous landscapes that surrounded him as he worked.

These large canvases have an air of being fervidly executed rather than merely painted, of being impetuously layered and energetically composed, then reined in and hewn as opposed to envisioned, planned and produced. To an extent, this is much like Gorzo’s creative practice in general. Whether painting, sculpting or drawing, he is wont to leave readily palpable traces of his procedural strata at the surface, and to allow his often extemporaneous approach to initial mark-making to guide his compositions into most unforeseeable spheres comprising abstracted figures and curious creatures, or what might even register as organically inflected, technologically implausible architectures and machinery. His trademark summer-vine greens, turquoise blues and subtly blanched, softened pinks come into atmospheric, airy confluence in his backdrops, in which all manner of smallish, darkly inscribed subjects seem to dart about in sparely described, middle-grounded hinterlands. In many of his foregrounds, then, these same colors are deployed as either expressive drips or chromatic bursts seeping through or filling in interstitial voids in much more robustly marked, candidly delineated, physically bizarre yet somehow sympathetic figures and forms.

With these new works, Gorzo’s painterly agency is that of a cave dweller with a preternatural awareness of Philip Guston and Hieronymus Bosch. In other words, this is Gorzo as usual, yet with the energy and volume turned up a notch. One can almost hear all of his figuratively evocative echoes bouncing about throughout mountains, forests and valleys.

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This essay was composed as an accompaniment to Fend Off, Dumitru Gorzo’s solo exhibition at Slag Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The show opens on September 9th and runs through October 9th, 2016. More information and images here.

Paul D’Agostino, Ph.D. is an artist, writer, translator, curator and professor living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. More information about him is available here, and you can find him as @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.

Essay: Temporal Strata

by Paul D'Agostino

This essay was composed ex situ to accompany Brooklyn-based Slag Gallery’s exhibition booth at Volta9 in Basel, Switzerland, during Art Basel 2013. 

A work by Naomi Safron-Hon in Volta9 Basel.

A work by Naomi Safran-Hon in Volta9 Basel.

Working in a range of mixed media practices and to meta-expressive ends now sociological, now environmental, now political, the three artists featured in Volta9 by Brooklyn-based Slag Gallery—Dumitru Gorzo, Hector Dionicio Mendoza, and Naomi Safran-Hon—find common conceptual ground in notions of intersecting, overlapping and materially layered chronologies.

Slag's booth at Volta9 Basel. Left, Dumitru Gorzo. Right, Naomi Safran-Hon. Below, Hector Dio Mendoza.

Slag’s booth at Volta9 Basel. Left, Dumitru Gorzo. Right, Naomi Safran-Hon. Sculpture by Hector Dionicio Mendoza.

Painting atop large prints of color, black and white or ambered photographs of people in either definitively urban or patently rural settings, Gorzo deploys bold colors and energetically sure, candid brushstrokes to create stratified picture planes in which figures portrayed photographically are partially obscured or reconfigured by abstractly painted interlopers, and in which mixed personal nostalgias—at times geographically immediate, at times temporally distant, at times allowing the personal to give way to the societal—feed into and off of one another’s images in uncompromisingly vivacious, profoundly revivified compositions.

Dumitru Gorzo, Gulps, Hiccups and Other Mores, 2013.

Dumitru Gorzo, Gulps, Hiccups and Other Mores, 2013.

Bound to arrayed geographical localities as a result of incorporating found objects into the mix, Mendoza’s sculptures tend ultimately toward the geological. Like the readily legible chapters of time and terrestrial torque in metamorphic rock, the visual divisibilities and material morphings in Mendoza’s creations speak to change over time, environmental and technological alike, and to how one’s sense of self, substance and place might evolve and alter therewith.

Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Nube/Cloud, 2013.

Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Nube/Cloud, 2013.

Sculpturally photographic and photographically sculptural, immediately curious in their delicate muscularity, the works of Safran-Hon are so rich in material and conceptual relief that they appear to cleave away from the dimensions that bind them, or from the frameworks that compositionally bound them. Incorporating deeply tactile photographs of dilapidated homes, peeling walls and domestic desuetude in Wadi Salib, in her hometown Haifa, with the rugged medium of cement and the fragile materiality of lace, the Brooklyn-based artist depicts structural spaces that quake with processes of destruction—that both suffer under the forces of conflict and heave back against them, much like the broader political context imbuing these works with historical relevance.

Slag's booth at Volta9 Basel.

Slag’s booth at Volta9 Basel.

Slag Gallery is located at 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. More information about the gallery and its artists at slaggallery.com.

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