Ricco/Maresca Gallery is pleased to announce “After,” an exhibition of recent photo-based works by contemporary artist Gerald Slota, curated by W.M. Hunt, former director of photography at the gallery.
“After” refers to the period after the death of the artist’s father this year following a long illness. This dark event unexpectedly energized the artist, thrusting him into a concentrated period of activity and literal exploration of his father’s house, an experience that was unpredictably calm and reflective.
Slota describes the body of work presented in “After” as minimal and quiet. In the search for this new vocabulary, he seems to have opened a door spiritually and visually; seeing and searching out color in previously unexplored ways (as in the case of Mark Rothko, color is "merely an instrument”1). Slota’s process of constructing images by building up and taking away finds balance in the inclusion of figurative elements, such as door hooks and lawn ornaments located in fields of color, which are then marked with unsettling fragmentations or interventions of lines and borders that the artist draws or lays in.
The new work references specific places in Slota’s father’s house: a room or a pegboard that once held tools, ringed stains on the floor left by paint cans, an old window shade that had been in disarray for years. There may only be the suggestion of narrative… Slota responds to shape and color and challenges himself to re-experience a once-familiar place. Whichever anxieties between son and father may have existed, they are resolved. The “After” work reflects peace and serenity.
Slota made his gallery debut more than 20 years ago with an exhibition titled “True.” Critic A.D Coleman wrote then, in The New York Observer, that “something extraordinary takes place when Mr. Slota applies his inclinations to his materials. Unrelated components behave synergistically, plot fragments start to skitter around like mice startled in the kitchen, shards of artifact turn resonant. In other words, real art gets made.”2 This still holds true.
The titles of Slota’s subsequent shows offer a descriptive overview of his work: “Extraordinary Madness” (1997), “Smashed” (1998), “Cracked” (1999), “Gone” (2000), “Found” (2005), “Fable” (2008), “Home Sweet Home,” “Urbania” (both 2010), “Story” (2013). He has been widely exhibited across the Unites States and abroad as an artist and photographer; he has shown at the George Eastman Museum, the Langhans Galerie (Prague, Czech Republic), and Les Rencontres d’Arles (Arles, France). He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and has lectured at many institutions, including the International Center for Photography (ICP). Slota is also an accomplished video maker and editorial contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Vice, Discover, Scientific American, BOMB, Blindspot, ARTNEWS, Art in America, and Aperture. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Polaroid Corporation.