Nancy Margolis Gallery is pleased to announce Edward del Rosario’s third solo exhibition at the gallery, Legend. The show will be on view October 19th through December 2nd, 2017, with an opening reception on Thursday, October 19th from 6pm until 8pm.
Del Rosario has solidified his artistic reputation through his meticulously detailed, symbolic, and enigmatic figurative paintings. Legend showcases 17 new paintings that expand on and highlight these stylistic traits that are so characteristic of the artist, while presenting the viewer with new narratives, myths, and a stable of fictitious characters. With titles such as Deities and Titans, del Rosario’s fresh body of work playfully explores individuals’ roles in society as well as their interactions with one another.
Legend exhibits a dynamic array of compositional styles. Dominion I is a sprawling, Boschian scene composed of dozens of figures engaged in an absurd amalgam of performances and games, often with humorous, sexual, or foreboding undercurrents. From a slight bird’s-eye perspective, the artist portrays figures dressed in skeleton costumes and animal masks, children playing cards and hide-and-seek, jokers, devils, a boy on fire, a man on a leash, and a dramatic juxtaposition of scale—some figures appear to be giants while others look pocket-sized. His exquisite detailing makes it a painting that cannot be absorbed in a glance, and each examination of the work unveils new, hidden narratives.
To counterbalance the rich action of his Bruegel-esque scenes, del Rosario’s more restrained compositions consist of flat, monochromatic backgrounds—usually a pale, neutral color such as cream, yellow, or pink—with a small cast of carefully delineated figures executed on the surface. By omitting all contextual detail from the background, the artist forces the viewer to examine the characters and their interactions with one another, rather than fixate on any particular or identifiable place. Furthermore, figures are disparate in wardrobe, time period, and purpose. For example, in Titans I we are confronted with three characters arranged in a triangular formation, reminiscent of high Renaissance compositions. On the left stands an adolescent boy wearing a white nightshirt, white underpants, and white socks with a shackle and chain inexplicably clasped to his right ankle; in the center of the composition is a man adorned in an historical military outfit—sans pants—straddling a hobbyhorse and clutching a knife; and on the right is a young girl dressed in a high-necked lime-green lizard suit. Based solely on their body language and pose, these three personalities are evidently engaged in some interaction. However, as is the case in every painting by del Rosario, the viewer is not expected to understand the relationship between the group of seemingly unrelated figures; rather, their differences stir curiosity and questions in the viewer, imbuing each piece with intrigue and mystery. Del Rosario’s intentionally ambiguous subjects, together with his omission of a specific place, give each work a sense of timelessness and universality.