The work I am doing now depends on chance meetings and collaborations that challenge me to untangle questions like, ‘Are you okay with living like an open wound?’ I am interested in the idea that painting can be haunted by the past and alter a sense of time or reality. The act of painting also has the means to resurrect, to conjure, and to answer questions.
I embrace figuration. Diversify it. Push the conversation around it forward. Pinned down emotions sketched onto newsprint or recognized in pages ripped out of magazines end up pushed into the wet gesso of a canvas the size of a human body. It's a kind of performance, a dramatic dialogue in strong contrasts rich in texture, color, movement, expression, and symbolism. Some of the work is in direct response to particular paintings or themes in art history. Others are visual meditations on how it feels to move in this present space.
While the paintings dig underneath the skin, the drawings deal mostly with surface. In drawing I find inspiration in the rhythm and repetitions of pencil to paper that conspire with my fascination with binary opposition—pain and pleasure, nurturing and torturing, opulence and the mortification of the flesh. I am very interested in the variety of meticulous small movements it takes to distort proportions of body parts, costume and bound hair, enough so as to challenge the social construct of physical beauty.
Whether painting or drawing my marks are intuitive and reactive. I think about my child figuring out a way of being in this world. I think about my wife, a skin with which I caress and feel the other. Voluminous shapes shift and move. I think about the daily ammunition it takes to battle social ridicule. My pencil finds beauty in the deformities while the sharpened point of the lead scratches with currents of murmurs, laughter, and snatches of conversation.
PERRI NERI Highland Park, NJ www.perrineri.com
The Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL (upcoming)
Group Exhibition, Ceres Gallery, NYC
Art Takes Manhattan, Caelum Gallery, NYC
Women Under Siege, Group Exhibition, Ceres Gallery, NYC
Extended Consciousness, Group Exhibition, Caelum Gallery, NYC