NEW YORK CITY — Yesterday we ran an exhibition by UK ceramist/satirist Barnaby Barford, which used a menagerie of animals to drive its grim point across. Today we have animals that, while still a little satirical, have somewhat more warmth to them. Italian artist Alessandro Gallo, who we had the pleasure of exhibiting at our Cfile show in Santa Fe last year, is currently exhibiting For Some Reason at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (New York, November 19 – December 17).
Gallo, you may remember, makes very lifelike human/animal hybrids that act as a comment on some human trait. These 1-2 foot tall sculptures ooze character; you feel like you get to know a lot about the subject with just a glance. They’re odd modern totems and one can read people one knows into their forms.
The Gallery states of the exhibition:
Gallo’s mixed-media process is rooted in realism and he begins by photographing a model from multiple angles. The resulting photographs are then used in conjunction with images from animal wildlife books as references while sculpting. He adorns his mutant species with clothing, tattoos and other attributes of typical city-dwellers, and positions them within mundane human circumstances, such as standing in an elevator or taking out the garbage...
By placing his compositions within the minutia of daily life Gallo views his work as psychological portraits that embark upon themes of alienation, boredom and loneliness. Whether originally derived from nature or culture, his characters effectively embodying the values and vices of human nature.
We found an amazing writeup of the show by Nick Curts of CoArt Magazine. His piece illustrates the heavy narrative surrounding each of the figures and we’ve included his comments in some of the captions. We suggest that you read his article in full here. It shows how deeply one can read these characters.
About the artist.
Gallo was born in 1974 in Genoa, Italy, according to the gallery. He is currently based in Genoa, Italy and London, United Kingdom. After studying Law at the University of Genoa, Gallo did a foundation course at Saint Martin’s College of Art in London followed by a BA at Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 2002. While in college studying painting he began experimenting with digital photography and manipulated images to create scenes of animals in familiar city settings. By 2005, he had transitioned into digitally making hybrids and decided to give his creatures a physical presence by sculpting them from clay. Gallo and his anthropomorphic characters have received widespread popularity in Europe, with his works being featured in the 237th Annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. In 2012, he received a first place grant from the Virginia A. Foot Foundation.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.