Benjamin Bertocci’s paintings and collages employ a variety of materials from recycled goods, traditional oil painting, aluminum, and plastic. At times, the Queens-based artist also borrows his subjects, transporting them from one context to another to create playful yet complex new readings.
One such subject is Flip the Frog, an anthropomorphized cartoon character created in the 1930s during the Great Depression. In Couple (2016), Flip and his identical companion embrace sweetly while riding a small car. The work appears whimsical at first, depicting carefree love. Yet a sharper reading alludes to a more somber quality: in accord with the times, Flip was known to always be out of a job or venturing into failed businesses. What may come next for Flip is the question that drives much of Bertocci’s work, an interest in systemic collapse, cultural, environmental or societal.
—Courtesy of ICI
Image rights: Courtesy the artist and von ammon co.