FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7 -- March 29, 2008
Gallery 415 is pleased to announce a solo show of the work by Argentine artist Claudio Roncoli, who has exhibited previously in the UK, Italy, Bolivia, Argentiina, Mexico and Peru; this is his début one-man show in the United States. Roncoli's mixed-media paintings combine vintage advertising imagery, traditional religious symbolism, institutional propaganda, painterly bravura, and digital technology to comment on consumerism's universal appeal and steady global advance. The mass-media-driven consumer culture that evolved in the US in the 1950s and 1960s set the pattern for the consumerist wave now fueling all industrial economies. Roncoli's work in The Great Pretender, both a critique of capitalism and a wryly nostalgic look at the cult of the industrial cornucopia, could not be more appropriate and timely, particularly as global warming and the energy crisis now challenge that promise of endless material abundance.
Roncoli, born in 1971, spent his childhood in his father's toy store and his early adolescence in seminary before finding a way to reconcile and combine secular and sacred leanings through art (Consummation or Consumption is the title of a previous exhibition). Melding Dadaist iconoclasm, Abstract Expressionist painterliness, and Pop Art and postmodern appropriation, he creates a multicultural, atemporal body of work --acrylic paintings on printed vinyl based on digital collages of old advertising, along with sculpture and graphic design -- that both glories in consumer culture and ridicules it. The images the artist chooses come from the 40s through the 70s, the objects of desire of his parents' generation perhaps, but the absurdity of these radiantly perfect people in utopian settings, "splendid, young, beautiful and happy" in Julio Sanchez's summation, also possesses an innate pathos.
Susan Sontag pointed out the elegiac nature of photography's catching a fragment of vanishing time, so the ecstatic delight these models display over a new washing machine or coordinated outfit seems touching and poignantly human, despite the storms of stickers -- stars, smiley faces, cartoon figures -- and stenciled or slathered paint that surround them; despite the ironic halos fashioned from giant cookies; and despite the satirical titles with which Roncoli frames them: Holy Sports, The Revenge will be Terrible, Purseland. Like the central panel of Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, with its scores of nudes cavorting amid gigantic fruits and animals, these paintings are celebrations of innocence (or ignorance) and delight (or excess); they depict the dreams that money can buy, in Surrealist parlance. Commercial kitsch is rendered human, all too human, in Roncoli's divinely decadent comedy of blissful repletion.
Gallery 415 in San Francisco focuses on modern and contemporary art from Latin America. The gallery program challenges the traditional views of Latin American art and showcases the great range of styles, materials, themes and aesthetics in artistic production from this diverse region. The gallery is located in the Union Square area of downtown San Francisco and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00am-5:30pm. For more information please contact: Christina Bosemark 1.415.690.0026 www.g415.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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