Mike Piscitelli, Devolution

November 3

Curated by Neil Grayson

November 3 – December 8, 2001

Curated by Neil Grayson

In “Devolution,” artist Mike Piscitelli has re-rendered photographs in a striking collection of red and black painted bitmaps. Bitmaps are commonly used in image-editing computer programs to represent images through a grid of small squares known as pixels. Piscitelli has appropriated the bitmap technique to create paintings that reveal their images by breaking them apart.

As the name suggests, the works in “Devolution” follow a controlled pattern of deteriorating detail. As pixels are added and removed, the images they represent are surrendered and re-rendered at varying distances.

The paintings take their images from Piscitelli’s photographs of friends and models. The figures are starkly androgynous, suggesting a sexual, as well as graphic, retrogression. Thin and free from curves or irregularities, their bodies recall the innocent and straightforward, though nonetheless charged, eroticism of adolescence. Simple, direct poses and a preference for anonymous parts over expressive eyes reveal a decided rejection of the innuendo and role playing typical of the figure in art and fashion photography.

Piscitelli is a young, New York-based artist. Rather than the university or art school, Piscitelli came up through the ranks of porn, fashion photography, and music videos. His photography and video work displays an unusually perceptive connection to youth culture. A series of promotional video shorts Piscitelli directed for MTV earned him an Art Directors’ Club award for Outstanding New Talent.

The connection between popular and fine art is undeniable in contemporary culture. Rather than apprenticeships and a mastery of classical painting techniques, today’s sharpest talent digests a canon of music videos, movies, television, and fashion magazines. “Devolution” examines the source and product of a contemporary artistic lineage.

“Devolution,” curated by Neil Grayson, contains Piscitelli’s first collection of large-scale paintings, an interactive installation, and a limited-edition hand-made chap book.

Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2001 6-8pm
Exhibition Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 1-6pm

[nggallery id=38]