Rena Bransten Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition of Oakland based artist Robert Minervini. In these new paintings, Minervini continues his investigation of human’s complex relationship to both the natural and constructed environment, looking at our dual and conflicting desires to both tame and live harmoniously with nature. Inspired by walks around San Francisco neighborhoods, many of these works focus on small improvised garden spaces, exploring how space is manipulated in densely populated urban areas with an effort to bring in the natural world, further underscored by the inclusion of three large planter box sculptures on the gallery floor.
While Robert Minervini’s precise, balanced design, vibrant colors, and clean aesthetic suggest a reach toward perfection, a dystopian element is often present – the view through thick, overgrown vines reveals a grey, drab, post-apocalyptic city devoid of any signs of life, while small garden spaces are still lifes in a holodeck. Backdrops rendered in pastel gradients remind us we are only looking at a facsimile of nature, an idea furthered by recurring grid lines; while the grid has long been used as the invisible tool of artists and designers, Minervini brings it to the forefront, revealing and reveling in the façade. His grids take the form of tiled walls, cinder blocks, high-rise buildings, and trellises, but also reference the underlying structures of urban spaces, and the invented or physical barriers meant to delineate space and property.
Robert Minervini received his BFA from Tyler School of Art and his MFA from SFAI. His work has been exhibited at the Schneider Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Bedford Gallery, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. He is a recipient of the Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship by the San Francisco Foundation, and has completed multiple murals and public artworks nationally. He has been a resident artist at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Headlands Center of the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. His art has been widely published and reviewed. He currently lives and works in Oakland and San Francisco.