Gallery Openings and Events

Studio 21 Features Painter James Cassell Art-Making as Art-Seeing

James Cassell. Via Degli Artisti  Image courtesy of the artist.

James Cassell. Via Degli Artisti Image courtesy of the artist.

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Opening Reception: Thursday October 2 at 6pm

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Through November 1, 2014.

The exhibition highlights recent paintings originating in the artist’s desire to deepen his May, 2014, art-viewing experiences in churches and museums in Venice and Rome. For example, his two-paneled piece, “After Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath,” which is basedon apainting he saw in Rome’s Villa Borghese, replicates aspects of a Caravaggio, allowing the artist “to go inside” the original work. At the same time, he pays tribute to the troubled genius, one of Italy’s greatest artists, who courageously broke through the conventions of painting at the end of the 16th century.

The exhibit also includes some of the artist’s “text and collage” canvases that explore the questions of mortality and isolation, universal themes of human existence. In the diptych, “I’m Alone, I’m not Alone,” the artist speculates on the individual’s place in the universe. In his journal, he writes: “I’m alone. I’m not alone. Meaning, I’m Both? Meaning what? I’m not completely one or the other? I’m born alone. I die alone. But in between birth and death? And perhaps my not aloneness is ultimately invisible to me.” Or, one might add, unknowable.

Other paintings in the exhibit continue the artist’s fascination with the subtleties of various color palettes, an interest that began after an earlier trip to Italy in 2011. In making these minimalist paintings, there is no plan; nothing is drawn in advance. Against a consistently black background, the brush makes the shapes without a ruler or any preconceived outlines. With one color suggesting another, the square and rectangular mosaic-like matrixes build organically, marked only by the hand’s unique imperfections.

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