April 7 - May 7, 2011
Salomon Contemporary presents Freedom, a solo exhibition of works by Richard Pasquarelli. Within seven stylized paintings, Pasquarelli applies his signature high contrast color palette and foreboding subject matter to create images based on contemporary realities. By taking photographs and painstakingly recreating them in oil, Freedom focuses on a real-life horror story that is no longer cinematic, but rather a literal effect of overconsumption in America.
While his past works often evoke an ambiguous mixture of pending misfortune and unease, in Freedom, Pasquarelli also examines the after effects of a society plagued by excess. In the exhibition's largest and most telling piece, New Hope Alley, sacred icons such as the American flag and the Buddha are carelessly strewn in a gated alleyway. A light bulb, once symbolizing American invention and progress, no longer has anything to illuminate. A naked, child-like mannequin leans against a brick wall with its head bent as if disillusioned, giving the scene an unsettling quality. No longer useful, the material commodities are severed and decayed to the point of deformity.
Pasquarelli's three graphic, magnified bodies of a man, woman, and child emphasize a conscious human disfigurement. These bulbous bodies layered with fat almost look less human than Pasquarelli's mannequin, and yet are more disturbing because they're taken from life. The theme of overindulgence continues in Yard, where a vibrant blue sky starkly juxtaposes the rusty skeletons of piled cars. After years of polluting the skies, the vehicles become actual trash as they are haphazardly stacked and forgotten. In Pasquarelli's Arlington Cemetery, the washed out, faded tombstones recalls a chilling nostalgia for a squandered past. The graves of fallen soldiers exhibit human lives sacrificed during America's quest to fuel the very machinery that eventually becomes junkyard waste.
Richard Pasquarelli was born in Bronxville, New York and received his B.F.A. at Syracuse University. He has exhibited at galleries in New York, Norway, Paris, Madrid, and Los Angeles. In 2010, Pasquarelli collaborated with New York City's Downtown Alliance art initiative, Re:Construction, and transformed construction sites with his installations, Restore the View, Secret Gardens, and Hours of the Day. His paintings have been shown at the Miami Art Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Chelsea Museum, the Jersey City Museum, and the Islip Art Museum. His work is a part of many corporate, public, and private collections throughout the world including the U.S. Library of Congress, Bayerische Landesbank, General Dynamics Inc., The Zabludowicz Collection, MacAndrews Forbes Holdings, Progressive Insurance, and the World Trade Center Memorial Museum.