Gerasimos FloratosMarch 1–April 16, 2016
White Columns is proud to present the first New York solo exhibition by Gerasimos Floratos (b. 1986, New York.) Floratos’s exhibition comprises of eleven large-scale oil-on-canvas paintings and a group of related works on paper.
Gerasimos Floratos was raised – and still lives and works – in New York’s Times Square neighborhood, where his family run a deli (and where the artist worked until recently.) A self-taught artist, Floratos’s studio is housed in a nearby Theater District basement – in the same 48th Street building where John Lennon’s final album was recorded – where most days he paints accompanied by a soundtrack of hip-hop and reggae.
Floratos’s paintings are ‘site specific’, together they might be read as a ‘portrait’ of the ebb and flow of life in Times Square, one of the world’s busiest intersections: a place that has been described as “the center of the universe.” Into this turbulent narrative, Floratos inserts himself and his own family’s history, effectively creating an autobiographical account of life at “the crossroads of the world.” (An image of the globe is a recurring motif in Floratos’s work.)
The characters in Floratos’s paintings – the hustlers, the dealers, the panhandlers, the costumed street-performers, the taxi drivers, the tourists, and the artist himself – take center stage in the paintings, acting out their assigned roles in the daily street-theater of ‘The Great White Way.’ The individuals who populate Floratos’s paintings are observed from life, but are subsequently exaggerated – amplified, elongated, even concertinaed – in a manner that echoes both the comic book-stylings of Robert Crumb and the late work of Philip Guston.
These are determinedly paintings of, by and about New York. Writing about Floratos’s relationship with Times Square the artist Ross Simonini has suggested: “Floratos thrives in this place, dives into crowds and maneuvers through the never-ending avalanche of tourists flowing down Broadway … He was raised inside this electricity and the feeling of it is inextricable from his art. “
The exhibition is accompanied by a color ‘zine made collaboratively by Floratos and Eddie Martinez. (A special edition of twenty copies of the ‘zine have been uniquely customized and signed by the two artists: details available from the gallery.) White Columns is grateful to Eddie Martinez for introducing us to Gerasimos and his work.
Gersamimos Floratos (b. 1986, New York) had a solo exhibition – ‘Times Square Paintings’ – at Sorry We Are Closed, Brussels, Belgium in 2015. His work has been included in recent group shows at Alter Space, San Francisco (2016); Harper’s Books, East Hampton, NY (2015); and Know More Games, NY (2015); among others.
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