May-01-2015 – May-30-2015
Bernarducci Meisel Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition for Gabriele Grones. Over a dozen, highly detailed portraits feature the head and shoulders of his models on a monochromatic background. Each portrait measures 16 x 12 inches and although they are small, there is an extraordinary amount of detail given to each person’s face, hair, and clothing with great respect to light. Each painting is as advanced in its technique as the persona of each sitter.
GRONES begins his portraits by bonding with the sitter as each portrait is an emotional map of their past records and feelings. To prepare for the portraits, Grones seats his subjects under a very bright light exposing every morsel of their being, every capillary on their skin, every hair on their head. Each face is thoroughly painted, often represented outside of a specific context – a void that is underlined by the monochromatic background. In every portrait the sitter is seated on an angle, escaping eye contact with the viewer. To Grones, this points to the crystallization of the figure, creating an iconic image.
GRONES’S Elisa II (2014) is striking in that each and every strand of Elisa’s brunette hair is intricately painted. As the light cascades onto her skin her features cast delicate shadows over her meticulously rendered face. An array of blues are present in the composition. The azure background is accentuated by the navy blue cotton scarf wrapped around Eliza’s neck. Her crystal clear blue eyes add a third shade of blue to the painting. The artist’s technical prowess does not discount his conceptual integrity. Elisa’s blue eyes do not connect with the viewer but rather focus beyond the picture plane alluding to a metaphysical context.
GRONES’S portraits are far from idealized. Each characteristic of the individual adds to their experiences. Not only does Grones create great physical depth in each portrait but a great emotional depth is present too. Fabio (2014) features a man, perhaps in his early 40s, wearing a black tee shirt under an unbuttoned purple, gold, and white dress shirt. His hair line has receded so far it is barely visible. His blue eyes appear to be sculpted onto the canvas as they are so expertly painted with dimension. As the light hits his face, every discoloration and wrinkle is visible on his skin. Fabio’s pensive gaze that avoids contact with the viewer generates a sense of profound emotional depth.
Grones lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his BFA and MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Italy. Recently, his work was included in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art Realism Biennial (Fort Wayne, Indiana) as well as the exhibition entitled The Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2011, Grones’s work was included in the Arsenale as part of the 54th Venice Biennale.