Marco Palmieri Belsito
September 10 - October 10, 2014
Opening Reception: Wednesday, September 10th, 6-8pm
Marco Palmieri's artworks exist in a world of ideals, of flawless figures and gestures, embodied in a range of media that includes painting, print-making and tailored objects. For his first solo exhibition in a New York gallery, he focuses solely on the painted surface; the natural home for the image dislocated from its earth-bound cousin.
As is typical of Palmieri, the paintings in this show are marked as much by their graceful sensibility as they are haunted by absence. Fragments of figures are repeated in motif, excavated of their somatic qualities; familiar forms float across surfaces, whittled down into idealised apparitions; decorative borders frame the edges of canvases, as if to emphasise their vacant innards. This absence is given a literary manifestation in Palmieri's use of a carefully scripted signature 'Ciao', a recurrent motif painted on to the borders of canvases. Its elegantly executed lettering seems not only to bid farewell to bodily form, but to herald the primacy of that which remains in its place; the rarefied accoutrements of a material world.
To say that Palmieri's work has a signature style would be something of an understatement. Everything here - from the painted 'Ciao' to the Mediterranean palette - is signature, an aesthetic proxy for an absent signee. His paintings turn on that which surrounds and articulates the body, whether clothing, the ephemera of interior decor, or mementos of the hand such as handwriting and pencils. "Style is the soul" wrote Cocteau, and the gestures of identity rife in Palmieri's artworks, insinuated in every flick of the brush or cut of cloth, are as featherlight as they are essential. As each aspect of an advert exists in harmonious equivalence, all bearing the hallmark of the same quality and character - the colour swatch of bronzed skin, boat deck and cappuccino, the flick of a fringe mirrored in a serif font - so too do Palmieri's paintings map out a landscape of unblemished aestheticism.
For a collection of works in which every element belongs to the same visual parlance, Belsito is a fitting title. The word translates directly from Italian as 'nice-location', but it is commonly used as a name for beach resorts and hotels to denote their sophisticated appeal. Its meaning resides not so much in any literal definition as it does in its attachment to a vision of refinement. 'Belsito' is the profile of a bay, as much as it is the stripe of a deck-chair, or the pattern on a restaurant's walls. It is a vision which takes in its purview everything from landscapes and inhabitants to interior design.
ROBERT BLUMENTHAL GALLERY
1045 MADISON AVENUE, 3A
NEW YORK NY 10075