Opening Thursday, May 4th, Rehs Contemporary will debut David Palumbo and Todd M. Casey’s Skin and Tonic at their 57th Street gallery. With more than 100 works between the two, the walls are expected to be jam packed, celebrating figurative and still life work – as the art world has done for centuries.With a growing presence of Realism in the Contemporary art world, it is no surprise to see a contemporary twist on these classic motifs. As Art Historian Janet Whitmore notes in the exhibition catalog, “both Palumbo and Casey participate in the academic tradition of classical realism, but it is the context of twenty-first century life that provides the structure for their work.”
David’s paintings, on the surface appear erotic, but is far deeper and more sensual. The female figures arouse a sense of intimacy – well-crafted and composed to give you a window into a very private moment in time. It is that intimacy, and sense of vulnerability, that instantaneously draws you in. Palumbo goes on to set the tone through hands and facial expressions while building the atmosphere using heavy brushstrokes of deep or vibrant hues. The resultant compositions are beautiful, raw and engaging.
Todd takes on a very different subject through his still life work. Todd’s exploration encompasses more than you might think at first glance… he delves into the celebration and struggle of life. While his compositions of bright alcoholic drinks and objects before stark backgrounds are beautiful in and of themselves, what brings Todd’s work to another level is the emotion that this imagery can evoke – we celebrate with alcohol, we commiserate with alcohol, and we escape with alcohol. Todd too draws on this feeling of intimacy, allowing the viewer to connect the work with their own experiences – leaving the meaning a bit open ended as it parts ways with the easel but wholly complete when the right viewer steps in front of the canvas.Both artists are truly dependent on the viewer. They rely on the observer’s personal experience to fully complete the narrative – and that is part of what makes their works so intriguing. It is that ability for the artist to relate and connect; to make you feel.The exhibition will continue through May 26th.