Building upon his distinct figurative repertoire, Pessoli’s latest body of work depicts a cast of characters that are at once heroic, tragic, earnest and comic. A new group of fairly large scale paintings employ layered oil paint, enamel paint, spray paint, and stencil techniques, which have been common to the artist’s practice, to render a variety of intimate scenes: a group of musicians by the seaside, entertainers performing, a ghostly apparition in a room, a crawling monkey. As with some of his most recent works, Pessoli alludes to religious symbols, crucifixes and familiar classical arrangements like the nativity or annunciation - mixed with sexual symbols to create a complex sense of mystery in his canvases. But as his related series of twenty drawings entitled Did you fell’ I’m Good, I’m so Good make clear, Pessoli’s characters are often comically sad, ineffectual or hindered by their all too human conditions.
Complementing these works is the series Painter’s foam, an extensive collection of collages fashioned from the cardboard stencils used to create many of the paintings. These never before seen collages reflect a new technique for the artist, that is, recycling typically cast-off materials to form new, independent works. Like these layered collages, Pessoli’s new ceramic sculptures also piece together recognizable yet abstracted objects that are metaphorical tropes in his imagery, like a candle, top hat, window or face. These simple compound arrangements are studies in color and material, with some incorporating ribbons, cloth and glazes. Pessoli’s ceramics are the meeting point of his drawings, painting, and sculpture and realize much of his formal concerns in three-dimensionality.
This ambitious exhibition was, in part, inspired by Pessoli’s recent move from Milan, Italy to Los Angeles, California.
Bret Lund, ProtoLogos, Thomas Solomon Gallery, LA Rebecca Warren, Renaissance Gallery, Chicago