The post about this show, which closed July 26, has been sitting in my drafts folder, but for lack of time rather than lack of things to say. The works of China Marks, Rick Newton, and Sally Curcio, interesting in their own right, were placed in thoughtful, playful dialogue with each other in the show A Redefined Existence at the J. Cacciola Gallery in Chelsea.
Rick Newton’s clean-lined paintings register as normal at first, only to be belied with a touch of the surreal. The realistic rendering and precision of his painting style lends a cold edge to the combination of rationality represented by technological advanced vehicles and weapons and the irrationality of the blank background and details like the reaching claw in the painting above.
Sally Curcio creates miniature worlds in the series on view. Her clean edges come from the re-purposing of plastic products to create cheerful, sweet worlds encased in glass bubbles. No less fantastical, and perhaps more accessible and inviting to the touch, are the sewn panels by China Marks. Marks creates scenes with characters and words that just stop just short of narrative.
Overlaid with embroidery and different fabrics, the fabric panels recall the set up of cartoon panels but also the history of the craft of sewing and embroidery samplers. I read many of them as having a dark, slightly uneasy quality, like in the dialogue below. But open-ended as they are, it up to the viewer whether such statements are unsettling or funny.