White Columns

Gallery 100% Acid Free, curated by Micaela Giovannotti

Ben Blatt, Angelo Filomeno, Joyce Korotkin, Tim Maxwell, Steve Mumford, Hans Op de Beeck, Fulvio di Piazza,
Tony de los Reyes, and Nicola Verlato.


Given the renewed interest in both figurative art and the resurgence of drawing-based practices ‘100% Acid Free (neo-narrative works on paper)’ seeks to illuminate a number of distinct approaches to narrative drawing by a group of emerging artists based in Europe and the United States. Privileging storytelling – of all hues - the works in the exhibition variously explore issues of truth, reportage, fantasy, allegory, craft (draftsmanship), modernity, and classicism. Making reference to illustration – and often evocative of the languages and mannerisms of children’s books and fairy tales – many of the works in the exhibition juxtapose everyday imagery with quasi-surrealist narratives.

Recalling paperback book cover illustrations, Ben Blatt’s decoratively decadent, and monstrous allegories combine a Renaissance-like palette - that recalls Old Master frescoes - with cruel medieval narratives. Fulvio di Piazza’s hyper-realistic, hallucinatory landscapes simultaneously invoke the Sicilian Baroque of Bosch and Archimboldi as well as the retro-futurism of Star Wars. Tim Maxwell’s minutely detailed drawings – rendered in ballpoint pen - riff on science fiction illustration with their fantastical images within images. Tony de los Reyes portrays iconic doomed vessels that appear as if sinking in waves of sensual, curvy lines. Angelo Filomeno’s Accident drawings suggest narratives in which elements from his surroundings and fantasies morph into his healing bones. Some neo-narratives can be "read" almost literally, such as Nicola Verlato's Caravaggio-esque figures that appear to have climbed out of one work and fallen into another: journeying from work to work like chapters in a book. Joyce Korotkin's Cameos are tales of art world characters making brief cameo appearances amidst their own motifs. Hans Op de Beeck seeks to redefine video, combining hand-drawn animations with an actor’s performance to create a literal moving picture show, as if an Old Master sketch had suddenly come to life. Finally returning to reality, Steve Mumford’s on-the-spot watercolor journals of daily life in Baghdad record the juncture where life greets art.

About the curator: Micaela Giovannotti is US editor for tema celeste magazine. She is also an independent curator and critic based in New York.