Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present Valori Plastici, a group exhibition that brings the tradition of Pittura Metafisica into a contemporary context through painting, sculpture, installation and photography. Borrowing its title from a Roman magazine, this exhibition includes work by Jesse Chapman, Jennifer Cohen, Kristen Jensen, Jill Mason, and Adam Putnam.
Known for the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrá, Pittura Metafisica was a short-lived movement that served as a predecessor to surrealism and a reaction to the extreme avant-garde of the early 1900’s. Influenced by Nietzsche’s theories of eternal return, De Chirico and Carrá attempted to access a mysterious ‘true reality’ in their work, masked by the experience of the banal. The strange, evocative paintings of this movement evoked a sense of dislocation between past and present and the individual subject and their inhabited space.
Jesse Chapman’s paintings are contextually elusive, yet characterized by recognizable iconography. Fictive spaces play host to ambiguous, expressionless figures while rituals are performed between the animate and inanimate. These oneiric territories become governed by sharp contrasts of light and shadow that come together with time, to slowly reveal the disjointed strangeness of the human experience.
Jennifer Cohen’s sculptures allude to a surrogate human presence as implied movement becomes static through the alchemical transformation in her process. By incorporating textiles and personal effects (sweaters, pants and other garments) into the work, corporeal structures emerge, yet only the memory of the figure remains.
Lending a poetic and introspective relationship to both material and object, Kristen Jensen’s sculptural objects have a physicality that is at once temporal and definite. First appearing as subtle, everyday forms her works give way to literary or almost narrative clues, magnifying their pull on one’s perception.
Following an incongruous internal logic, the objects depicted in Jill Mason’s paintings are invested with anthropomorphic qualities that are at once awkward and mutable. Painted in saccharine pinks, blues and browns, the most abstract of her pictoral elements develops personality, inhabiting a sort of spare parts world that is at once surreal, bathetic and whimsically abstract.
Considering the psycho-perceptual dimensions of space and memory, Adam Putnam’s recent works explore the thresholds between exterior and interior spaces. Arches and columns constructed from everyday materials- wood, cardboard and tape- echo Putnam’s memories of the archways and piazzas of De Chirico’s paintings.