Two Italian Artists Explore Conceptually Gray Areas, With Lots of Color

White and Black Parallel,” the exhibition that opens this week show at Galleria Ca D’Oro’s new home in New York, poses a provocatively misleading title. Featuring a series of recent works by two Italian artists—sculptor, painter and writer Alfredo Rapetti Mogol, and photographer Federico Comelli Ferrari—the show actually offers a compelling artistic investigation of all that is not black and white, presenting works that reside firmly in a technical and conceptual “gray area.”. Indeed, both artists utilize the process of “stitching” literally and figuratively, producing objects that integrate textures, motifs, and forms drawn concurrently from their own minds and from the outside world.

Rapetti Mogol was born in Milan in 1961 to a family with a rich history of music, literature, and poetry. His maternal grandfather, Alfredo De Pedrini, President of the Graphic Arts Association of Milan, helped him develop a passion for painting; his father, the famous lyricist Mogol, introduced him to the world of music. His paintings have transcendent titles such as White, or Mappa del mio cielo (Map of my sky)—and they appear to chart universes both cosmic, natural, and psychological. Shaped by organic colors and textures that suggest fields of wheat, the marble of stone or a cloudy sky, they regularly incorporate text in a sort of dissociative synesthesia that attests to the dual importance of word and image in his experience.

Comelli Ferrari, meanwhile, employs a photographic process that is more explicitly collagist. Displayed in light boxes that emphasize their vibrant colors, his works ostensibly offer views of places we all know: Rome, Hong Kong, New York, London. Yet each landscape is unrecognizable, more closely resembling a patterned arrangement of colored glass in a kaleidoscope than any worldly environment. Each image—every location—is in fact constituted from thousands of photographic fragments taken from numerous angles at varying times of day, and woven back together. Disorienting and familiar at once, these works embody the artist’s distinctly subjective vision of the world. His technical process of montage and collage, deconstruction only to reconstruct, echoes the tricky nature of seeing: suggesting a world that is given to us whole, perceived in parts, and sewn back together.

White and Black Parallel,” is on view at Galleria Ca D’Oro, New York, Dec. 18–Jan. 22, 2014.

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