ASSEMBLED

 

April 19 – May 24

 Opening Reception

Saturday April 19, 7 – 10 pm

 

Raul de Nieves, Gabriele Picco, Evan Robarts, David Scanavino, and Peter Sutherland

Curated by Alex Ahn and Ari Lipkis

 

 TEMP Art Space is pleased to announce Assembled, a group exhibition that presents the importance of assemblage in contemporary art. Featuring the works of Raul de Nieves, Gabriele Picco, Evan Robarts, David Scanavino, and Peter Sutherland, the show highlights the artistic integrity of works created in this practice. 

 

In the history of art, assemblage was an act of rebellion that rejected traditional mediums. Declaring a radical aesthetic, the collection of seemingly random materials to form an artwork was at many times disparaged. Robert Rauschenberg scandalized the conservative art world of his time with his masterpiece, Bed (1955). According to legend, Rauschenberg used his own bedding, pillows and blankets as the canvas for the work, arranging the materials to appear as if he had just emerged from bed. Viewers were disturbed by the glimpse into the artist’s private life, believing the paint to be remnant of some violent sexual act. The material nature of the work was a stark contrast to the formal abstract canvases that it succeeded.

Humans crave the collecting and amassing of possessions. This is especially pertinent to today’s digital civilization, where people gather posts on social media and crave appreciation through the need of more "likes." Assemblage is a reflection of this obsession with excess and materialism. The use of old materials invokes past transgressions - materials that were thrown out are recontextualized in an artwork to force a reexamination of that which we no longer wish to see.

 

Raul de Nieves is driven by obsession. For his work MIXED NUTS, he has created a 19 foot long installation that is a microcosm into itself, inhabited by a lone explorer on a voyage through a world populated by drawing and figures that have resurfaced from past works. de Nieves never discards anything, always reworking and reimagining materials and ideas. This idea is reflected in his fascination with copy machines and how they can reproduce images so rapidly and cheaply. Using a copy machine, de Nieves reproduces an image that has captured his attention over and over again. de Nieves then repurposes these copies by collaging and assembling them together to form a larger tableaux. In this manner, the work recreates the original theme in different styles and with varying media, but always originating from the same point.

 

Gabriele Picco’s assemblages consist of pink, yellow, and blue Brillo pads arranged tightly on canvas that create bright and seemingly welcoming monochromic works. However, what can be welcoming about a Brillo pad, a harsh cleaning product that violently scrape away and remove dirt? The pads are a practical household item that are used to remove material. Picco transforms these often forgotten about objects, remembered by art history for their packaging. Picco reminds us that the act of adding paint to canvas is not always about what is added but what is also removed. Just like with Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), removing an image can make as powerful a statement as creating one. 

 

Scaffolding is ubiquitous in New York seen everywhere on every street corner. Evan Robarts reinterprets its function in the creation of his artwork. Transmuted from a utilitarian aid into the work’s very frame, the scaffolding creates negative space for Robarts’s monochrome murals. The frame also breaks forward into the viewer’s space and away from the wall that places the work on the border between sculpture and painting. In all, Robarts’s work is an assemblage that utilizes a found object to present utilitarian modes of painting that are encountered everyday.   

While not known as a painter, David Scanavino creates murals of pulped colored paper that recall early abstraction. These pulped paper murals bridge the wide rift between painting and the far younger medium of assemblage. The murals are site specific and are constructed by Scanavino over the course of several fast paced days. Done by hand, they display the impressions of the artist’s hands. Similar to the Renaissance artists who created frescos, he must work before the pulp dries and causes noticeable cracking. Scanavino transforms colored paper into an assembled image – a bold and striking mural, but without a single brushstroke.  

Peter Sutherland continues to explore the limits and possibilities of his mixed-media panel series. Tinged with white spray paint and wrapped with vinyl mesh, the jagged and splattered forms present a striking contemporary abstraction. However, the familiar appearance is due to the image’s source – a macro photograph of rock formations. In this way, the work is a fabricated representation of recycled source materials that combines formal abstraction and natural imagery.