By Nick Rogers
Art and design is pleasing to the sense of sight and it feeds your eyes like a hat made out of chocolate cake. If you dipped a business man in a lake of chocolate icing, what would you get?
Mona Lisa is sucked dry to three tones, she is smoking a cigarette and looking bored with a sign that reads “Fuck You”. Clelia Zolli, owner of the Clen Gallery, tells me that Kevin Berlin’s Gioconda is despondent because everyone is crowding around her ogling at her. That attitude the fashion world is famous for, being beautiful and bored with people looking at them all the time. Its all part of the charm, we know this.
Kevin Berlin work’s is both figural in this show as well as still life. If the interpreting of Da Vinci’s most famous enigmatic expression as a “Fuck you” is any clue to Berlin’s humor, we can now view the Nutella series with the right spirit. This collection of paintings combines mundane products like Nutella jars with various, but uniformly fun punchlines. A classic green alien with the giant vacant black eyes pokes his head around the corner from behind one of the jars and draws me closer with mirth. The superficiality of advertising is undercut by the artists wit in these works.
The energy of emotions, is a zapping show. In the same room with Kevin Berlin, castration and slavery is the fantastic topic of Alberto Baccari’s paintings. The artist explains that the eunuchs in his works were all “very powerful people with no balls”, often at the forefront of Turkish politics because of their specialized knowledge and intense loyalty. These giant faces are colored with many hues in a criss-crossing pattern across the skin. The artist tells me that this is in reference to the very colorful manner that these people used to dress. He poses for a photograph, pulling a Marilyn Monroe pose, holding down the imaginary dress while coyly drawing one finger to the lip surely a nod to the subject material at hand. The vibrations of these different feelings are distracted and amplified by the fashion show around the visitor. A selected fashion collection made by Clelia Zolli is moving about the space, draped over the shoulders of a group of models. Her vision of blending a fashion show with a gallery show is something very fresh and unusual, rare to find in the plastered neighborhood of Chelsea. Someone quips “I agree with having beautiful women walking around the room”.
Wandering into a dreamscape, visitors finds themselves on the beach with some armless angels with heart ventricles sticking out of their heads. With their heads in the sky, patrons can meet the pop art clouds made by Mary Mattingly, and run with the bronze horses of Monica Olea – artists selected by Clelia Zolli during the past edition of Clio Art Fair 2015.
The show hosted also a selection of works of Francesco Mian. There are symbols from the artist’s nostalgic brain, like a pair of scissors, some thread, knitting needles and a coiled shell from the beach, all referencing a childhood in coastal Italy where his mother made clothing. From all acrylic, to all drawings, to mixed digital and drawing, the works span many medias and recall a youthful exuberance of a poem.
With ten percent of all sales going to benefit breast cancer research, The Energy of Emotions at Clen Gallery is running from April 16th – April 19th from11AM – 6PM daily at Rogue Space, 508 West 26th St. 9th floor.