New Territory

Milano, 6/05 – 19/06, 2010

Jerome Zodo Contemporary is glad to present “New Territory“, American artist Ben Grasso’s first Italian solo exhibition.
Showcasing the latest work by the American painter, Ben Grasso, Jerome Zodo Contemporary will present new paintings and drawings as well as a large scale, site-specific installation that will suspend from the ceiling of the Milanese gallery.

Indeed, the artist does not limit his creative research to the pictorial tradition, but here extends a relationship into sculpture and architecture.
In his “Proposal” series ( Proposal # 4, # 5, # 6 ) his inquiry leads to the construction of objects in spaces whose disintegrating, physical boundaries suggest an extension to infinity. Here, edges dissolve, interior and exterior as well as organic and inorganic implicate one another or simply suggest their tentative, symbolic relationship.
Grasso’s work presents a continuous narrative inquiry on the threshold between representation and abstraction, which forcibly coexist in a state of tension. In Actual Things (2008), Grasso translates suspense into the dramatization of visual language, moments and visions challenge the gravity of corporeal masses; the artist celebrates their movement, which then becomes static and gets lost in various environments.

In his landscape paintings Red and Blue House (2010) or Reflection in the Mountains (2010), the reference to typical Hollywood scene paintings is not far. Those of the Grand Canyon or of forests and prairies; each canvas deliberately confuses already-existing places with fantasy. In the drawings on paper we lose the warm and smooth chromatic shades that characterize the oils on canvas. Bearing attributes similar to black and white photography, these drawings thrust the viewer into a confusing position where one cannot discern whether one is looking up into a tree canopy or down into a reflection in a puddle.

Grasso puts on a new psychology of territory, where the repetition of absolutely American atmospheres leads to the never ending dialogue between plastic forms and their environmental context. Nature and architecture coexist in a construction and/or deconstruction of the physical space, a status suggesting both the transitory nature of things and the illusory distinction between humans and nature; this is clearly shown by House of Cards (2008) and Autumn (2010), two of the largest works in the exhibition.

Ben Grasso was born in 1979 in Cleveland Ohio. After earning a BFA in Painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art, in his home town, Grasso continued his studies in this field with an MFA from Hunter College in New York, receiving several important awards: Grant of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York (2010); Fellowship in painting, New York Foundation for the Arts, NYFA (2009); The Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL (2003); The Helen Greene Perry Scholarship (2002); Joseph McCullough Painting Scholarship Award for Excellence in Painting (2001); Carl Gaertner Memorial Prize.

He is primarily known on the US art scene, with recent solo exhibitionssuch as “adaptation” and “TBD”,  both at Thierry Goldberg Projects in New York, and “Close to Home” at Kinkead Contemporary in Los Angeles. Group exhibitions that have featured his work: Good For You, David Klein Gallery, Birmingham, MI, U.S.A. (2011); Burn in the U.S.A., Ars Now Seragiotto, Padua; 2010 NYFA Fellows, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York; box(e), curated by Gabriele Tinti, Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan; Parlour no. 14, Curated by Samuel T. Adams, Diamonds in the Crow’s Nest, New York, NY;  ”Recess” at Crossing Art, New York; “Queens International” at the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and “The Grand” at the Amelie A. Wallace Center, SUNY Purchase, Old Westbury, NY.