On 5 May 2012 Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Chelsea location Nostalgia/Utopia, an exhibition of new works by FRANCESCO CLEMENTE.
Clemente continues his masterful interlacing of disparate images, materials, and cultures. The works run autonomously through Colonial Baroque, Afro-Brazilian, Indian, and urban American iconography. Deftly painted imagined scenes and figures co-exist with real sculptural objects affixed to the canvas surface. Each painting exists outside of specific reference to place or time.
Although individual motifs of Clemente's paintings can be linked to influences of his peripatetic lifestyle and spiritual exploration, the precise reading of any work remains elusive. In one pair of correlated paintings, an African mask at the center of a radiant sunflower sheds a string of pearl tears; then a wooden wheel with small birds corralled among its spokes turns on an axis bearing a skull and artists' palette. Another painting exhibits strands of rainbow-hued barbed wire stretched across a painted quilt or tile pattern; this spectrum is reprised in a work in which brightly painted transistor radios sit in a row atop an enigmatic image comprised of quilts, ladders, crescent moons, and collaged fragments of Piranesi prints. Each element - mysterious and rich in associations - is free to form new and surprising relationships.
Also included in the exhibition is a new series of eighteen gouache and sanguine drawings.
These intimate works function as a sourcebook of ideas expanded upon in the paintings.
The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, will continue through 30 June 2012.
A fully-illustrated catalogue with text by Peter Lamborn Wilson will be available at the Gallery.