Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nicola Verlato and Evol at Jonathan LeVine

by baad lamb

these two photo from Jonathan LeVine Gallery website
I won't miss this opening at Jonathan LeVine, 6 to 9 this Saturday night, when two of my favorite artists share the two main rooms at this always intrigueing gallery.

I first fell in love with the paintings and sculptures of Italian transplant Nicola Verlato in April, 2010, when I went to see "Three Handed", LeVine's triple bill show featuring Verlato with fellow Brooklynite painter Eric White, along with Fulvio Di Piazza of Palermo, Italy. Verlato's hyper-realistic paintings often depict muscular bodies with twisted and exaggerated features, and tell contemporary stories using swirling compositions reminiscent of high renaissance church ceiling paintings. I can't help but think of him as today's Thomas Hart Benton.

This  show's other featured artist, Evol, the street artist from Berlin, caught my eye on various docu-blog photo sites like Unurth and Ecosystem, but I was lucky enough to see his work up close for the first time at the Scope Art Fair back in March of 2010. His meticulous architectural recreations, whether two dimensional or three, are more than tromp l'oiel, they are tromp l'idée. If your think you know what you are looking at, think again.

I'll try for a full report, after the viewing.


  1. I hope that Verlato is a less conflicted person than Benton. From what I read in Tripp Evan's recent Grant Wood biography there seems to have been some deep inner conflict in Benton that expressed itself with a verbal homophobia that stands in stark contrast to his art.

  2. Henry, thanks for the comment.
    I know nothing about Verlato except that I really like his work, (and just learned that since his last show at LeVine, he has left Brooklyn for LA). There are a host of other painters I could have compared him to, and no one would ever mistake one for the other, but Benton's less realistic, beautifully stylized compositions often emphasize human motion and muscle in a way that brought him to mind when I first encountered Verlato. I had heard about Benton's hyper-masculine personality and often wondered if it was a case of "protesting too much".
    I'll have to read the Grant Wood book, another painter whose work I admire. When the Hide/Seek show came to Brooklyn, I got to see his tres-gay confusion-and-longing painting "Arnold Comes of Age", and then downstairs at the Youth and Beauty exhibition, saw the exquisitely expressive "Woman with Plants".

  3. I think you'd like the Wood biography. It goes fairly deep in attempting to present him in the context of his environment and family background, and it includes interpretations (and reproductions) of his major works that I found quite fascinating, not really having known much about him beyond 'American Gothic'.