LOS ANGELES — L.A.-based Italian artist Nicola Verlato graphically depicts stereotypical Native American imagery and hyper-sexualized white men (and a satyr) in his allegorical series Conquest of the Wild West (Los Angeles, Calif. February 7 – March 7, 2015). Even so, his work is evocative of an old master painter and sculptor (more about his sculpture work below). Verlato says his work “embodies the conflict between idolatry and iconoclasm staged through the sovereignty of the Western narrative.”
Above image: The Settler in plaster
From Verlato’s Artsy Biography:
Specializing in fusing Americana, popular imagery, and traditional painting techniques, Nicola Verlato is best known for his highly refined allegorical surrealism that recalls the murals of Thomas Hart Benton (we think more like Jacques-Louis David) and the heightened drama of 17th-century Italian baroque paintings. Featuring spectacular light effects, twisting nude figures, and dense compositions, Verlato’s work depicts a dark future that recalls a mythological past.
Verlato’s historical portraiture of the Other draws upon dime novel stories – of (heroic) cowboys and (savage) Indians – to depict how the West was won in a disparate narrative from reality. This is especially striking with the similarities we see in our current political climate.
Verlato is also a classically trained musician though he later focused his attention toward rock music trading in his guitar, lute and piano for an electric guitar, bass and synthesizer. Some of his sculptures reflect his experience as a musician like his venerable Greco-Roman-like sculpture of black American blues singer/songwriter and musician Robert Johnson. Another of his sculptures, Teeth, taking on a pop-culture context, depicts a male shredding his guitar.
Verlato also created this sculpture of expatriate American poet Ezra Pound.
If you have a moment, take time to explore Verlato’s multimedia art experience PPP Mausoleum.