Sunday, December 24, 2006

volcano: jeanne risica & ron ottaviano

[lava flow (triptych), 2006, mixed media on canvas, 16 x 20 inches each]
[turbulent zone (arabic), 2006, mixed media on canvas, 64 x 48 inches]

“scientific american” traverses synthetist harmony in this exhibition running at dillon gallery until january 20, 2007. when confronted by the unabashed naturalism and linear mystery of these works by the collaborative team of jeanne risica and ron ottaviano in “volcano,” one is struck by this team’s process of elucidation in capturing and revealing a mutual fascination with sudden power, physics, and the scientific poetry of upheaval.

regardless of media, risica and ottaviano manage to unravel and respond to diagrams of volcanic processes discovered during long readings at the new york public library. using digital enlargement, six diagrams became the basis for their experiments—such photo scans revealing perspectives and urging reexamination of perceived content. mysteries of data are decoded into chinese and arabic from english in this voracious process.

whether confronting eruptive episodes, sulfur dioxide dispersal, or intraplate volcanism, risica and ottaviano—seduced by visual content in the banal realm of textbooks—have successfully morphed this treasure to paint on canvas. fortunately for the viewer, they go further by producing a visual language independent of the source. this is accomplished by layers of paintings and additions of drawings that carry initial templates forward.

from the “eruption jet” series in english, arabic, and chinese to the “lahar” series, and especially in “lava flow” (triptych), the works elegantly amplify and authenticate narratives of flow, collapse, power, and sudden force in layered depth and color.

confronting the deceptive still beneath our feet on this planet—which on any given day about 10 volcanoes erupt—“volcano” poses cultural and sociopolitical questions about the universality of scientific knowledge, natural forces, power, and upheaval with works on canvas that match this metaphor.

through january 20, 2007 / dillon gallery /
555 west 25th street / nyc 10001 / 212.727.8585 /
tue-sat 10 am- 6 pm / /

1 comment:

R. Ott said...

Dear JD Nalley,

For quite a few years, people have talked about, misunderstood, bought, reviewed, and ignored my work. But I don't think anyone has better fathomed and appreciated it than you have.

Your review came to my attention only today and was the pleasantest of surprises—a sort of winning ticket that pops up in a junk drawer. To be understood in any manner is a balm. To read such a penetrating review of one's work brings a pretty singular pleasure <$$>