NOVEMBER 14 – DECEMBER 16, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION| WEDNSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 6 - 9PM
PROJECT STATEMENT I ADRIANO VALERI
The relationship between our bodies and the urban environment, with its material surfaces, plants, animals, and litter, is not easily defined—often, it is neither productive nor recreational. Collectively, our activity and impact on the planet is not limited to particular delineated areas, but rather is so massive that it increasingly alters the chemical composition of the earth’s soil, atmosphere, and water, redefining global ecological processes. The human species continues to rapidly urbanize, spurring societal change and migrations from countryside to city or across nations. In the process, cultural links between people and ecosystems are broken. Increasingly, it can be argued that we no longer relate to the land we inhabit but merely occupy it, traversing it as a connective tissue between functional spaces defined as productive, commercial, or recreational. Our growing dependence on information technology and digital geographies which can be accessed regardless of physical location further disconnect us psychologically from the biological and geological reality in which we live.
In his paintings, Valeri examines the post-functional character of urban ecosystems. Specifically, he focuses on the marginal spaces which collectively constitute an ever-growing percentage of the global landscape. The compositions and subjects he describes reflect the globalized and rapidly homogenizing nature of the earth’s surface, characterized by spaces whose only function is to create distance between buildings and roads, spaces that are difficult or undesirable to access, or which have ceased to be profitable for an industrial or agricultural use. These unassigned areas are themselves laboratories of biodiversity, even as they collect the effluvia of human action, the mass-produced materials and infrastructure necessary to support us and enable our activities. Plants and animals abound, often feral or non-native, and indirectly dependent upon us. Our reactions to these life forms might be hostile, empathetic, or merely indifferent. Valeri is interested in how these marginal spaces teem with unintended interactions resulting from our massive presence as a species, and has developed a personal narrative style to convey that.
Valeri titled this exhibition "Hurricane Season" after a large painting which is the focus of the show, and which alludes to the passive consumption of tropical cyclones as a mass marketed media spectacle. Hurricanes normally arise in warm coastal areas of the Northern Hemisphere between June and November, and have been increasing in frequency and ferocity as our planet continues to grow warmer. These meteorological disasters often evidence the poorly planned and tenuous nature of contemporary urban development, where flood planes and estuaries have been drained and paved for mass recreation and sprawling single family subdivisions. The scattered detritus surrounding a hastily erected tent made of an anonymous blue plastic tarp, inhabited by dogs which could be interpreted as threatened feral animals or disoriented family pets, highlights the complexity and inherent fragility of the infrastructure and services upon which we have all become accustomed to depend. The landscape described in "Hurricane Season" could well be the scene of a disaster in the wealthy American "Sun Belt," but it could just as easily recall the margins of a Caribbean shanty town, and is purposefully vague and ambiguous.
By choosing to occupy the entirety of a gallery wall, placing viewers on a 1:1 scale with the elements described, Valeri seeks to position visitors as protagonists rather than detached spectators. An accompanying series of small works on paper, studies of the elements described in the larger oil painting, echo and reflect on the symbolic character which can be attributed to the subjects described. These subjects represent archaic and long standing narrative elements within the European tradition of painting, such as tents, dogs, and felled trees.
Born in Milan in 1987, Adriano Valeri has lived, studied and worked both in the United States and in Italy. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice, where he received both his BFA and MFA, he has participated in numerous group shows and residencies in museums and galleries in Italy, the United States, Austria, and Taiwan. In 2013, he was an artist in residence at the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice as part of “How We Dwell,” a collective project which he co-founded. In 2018 he debuted with his first solo exhibition, "Claudonia Rapida," at the Galleria Marcolini in Forli, Italy. This is his first solo exhibit in the United States.