May 6 – 19 June, 2010
Showcasing the latest work by the American painter, Ben Grasso, Jerome Zodo Contemporary will present new paintings and drawings as well as a large scale, site-specific installation that will suspend from the ceiling of the Milanese gallery. Indeed, the artist does not limit his creative research to the pictorial tradition, but here extends a relationship into sculpture and architecture. In his “Proposal” series ( Proposal # 4, # 5, # 6 ) his inquiry leads to the construction of objects in spaces whose disintegrating, physical boundaries suggest an extension to infinity. Here, edges dissolve, interior and exterior as well as organic and inorganic implicate one another or simply suggest their tentative, symbolic relationship. Grasso’s work presents a continuous narrative inquiry on the threshold between representation and abstraction, which forcibly coexist in a state of tension. In Actual Things (2008), Grasso translates suspense into the dramatization of visual language, moments and visions challenge the gravity of corporeal masses; the artist celebrates their movement, which then becomes static and gets lost in various environments. In his landscape paintings Red and Blue House (2010) or Reflection in the Mountains (2010), the reference to typical Hollywood scene paintings is not far. Those of the Grand Canyon or of forests and prairies; each canvas deliberately confuses already-existing places with fantasy. In the drawings on paper we lose the warm and smooth chromatic shades that characterize the oils on canvas. Bearing attributes similar to black and white photography, these drawings thrust the viewer into a confusing position where one cannot discern whether one is looking up into a tree canopy or down into a reflection in a puddle. Grasso puts on a new psychology of territory, where the repetition of absolutely American atmospheres leads to the never ending dialogue between plastic forms and their environmental context. Nature and architecture coexist in a construction and/or deconstruction of the physical space, a status suggesting both the transitory nature of things and the illusory distinction between humans and nature; this is clearly shown by House of Cards (2008) and Autumn (2010), two of the largest works in the exhibition. Born in 1979 in Cleveland Ohio, Grasso obtained a BFA degree in Painting at the Cleveland Art Institute. Grasso continued his pictorial studies with an MFA degree at the Hunter College in New York City where he now lives and works. Mainly represented on the American artistic scene, among his recent solo exhibitions are: Rust Belt and Clearing at Thierry Goldberg Projects gallery in New York City and Close to Home at Kinkead Contemporary in Los Angeles. Among the group shows are: Recess at the Crossing Art gallery of New York; Queens International at the Queens Museum of Art in New York; The Grand, at the Amelie A. Wallace Center of the SUNY College in Old Westbury, in New York.