Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to announce company, the first New York solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Vanessa Maltese.
Through company, Maltese improvises and mimics the experience of entering into a domestic space for a social gathering through an installation of hand painted, aluminum and bronze cast shoes that are scattered around the gallery floor. Accompanied by an elongated floor mat, offering an allusive and spatial context to the presentation, the exhibition gestures towards a grander history framed around the philosophical rumblings behind Vincent Van Gogh’s A Pair of Shoes, 1886. Considering Martin Heidegger’s essay (citing the Van Gogh painting) from 1935, "The Origin of the Work of Art," which pushed to open up viewer experience through phenomenological description, Maltese bestows the viewer with a similar responsibility: to consider the variety of questions surrounding the shoes and the placement thereof.
Amplifying the differences between fabricated and original objects, time becomes suspended in these works, opening up a connection between the sculpture, fragments of multiple narratives and a constant shift of values (new and used, real and faux, past and present). Maltese’s use of tromp l’oeil as a deceptive strategy is employed here, yet in real space to allow fictions and histories to resonate and echo within and between the works. Culling the original patterns for the molds from actual shoes belonging to friends, lovers, family and acquaintances, company expresses and immortalizes a personal history as much as the ongoing nature of the series sets the stage for Maltese’s ‘company’ in the future.
Vanessa Maltese holds a BFA from OCAD University. Her work has been exhibited at the Power Plant, Toronto; Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto; Halsey McKay, East Hampton, NY; Greenpoint Terminal, Brooklyn. Maltese is the recipient of a 2014 Visual Artist Project Grant through the Canada Council for the Arts and is the National Winner of the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Recent reviews of the artist’s work include Frieze Magazine and Artforum. Maltese
lives and works in Toronto, Canada.