[“Inside Orange,” enamel on cotton canvas. “Flower Power,” enamel on cotton canvas. “Pop Seasons,” enamel on cotton canvas.]
Using bright enamel and her unique “pouring” technique, Serena Bocchino has created a true wonderland in this installation—up at Tria Gallery through December 5, 2009. Her vivid and lyrical paintings culminate into a virtual garden replete with ordinary lawn ornaments such as bunnies, squirrels, and flamingos. Transformed into iconographic pop elements, these objets contribute to the dynamism of “iPop,” in which a colorful environment combines high art with popular culture. Her second solo show at Tria, “iPop” was preceded by the meditative “Blue” with its elements of renewal.
Rhythmic marks, lines, and imagery have synergized into a unique and poetic tableaux in Bocchino’s work. The resultant frisson of color, mood, and atmosphere has pushed her palette to ever greater vibrant and textured dexterity. Bocchino’s “pop synergy” resounds in a full investigation of her subject matter through her choice of media and its ultimate rendering in her visual language.
In this exhibition at Tria, Bocchino revisits, reinvents, and reconstructs her abstract world based on artistic and social influences of the last three decades. Combining the high art of abstraction with ordinary lawn ornaments has created a philosophical tension that is provocative, but not without its humor. Hand-painted to match the work on her canvases, the ornaments in her mixed-media phantasms weave hope and fantasy into her lucid and fluent perspective and punctuate challenges of color theory. The artist’s mastery in her resultant bursts of color and rhythm nudge “Pop” as an entity toward a reinvigorated meaning.
That the artist was a window-display person in a previous life may explain the poignancy in the relationship between the figures and paintings. While explorations of the subconscious mind and a recreation of the childlike in the work of Joan Miró (1893-1983) as well as the techniques of Jackson Pollack (1912-1956) are obvious influences for Bocchino, the viewer will especially see traces of Cy Twombly’s electric work.
Bocchino’s explosive and exhilarating colors (and those in recent shows by such artists as Will Ryman and David Hockney) are a remedy in this world turned upside down—much as the escape and elegance of Hollywood musicals such as “Gold Diggers of 1933,” “42nd Street,” and “Footlight Parade” were a salve for Depression-era audiences—boosting morale and lightening the burden of 60-70 million Americans packing theaters every week with a quarter of the population being unemployed. Despite the inherent confrontation resulting from a confluence of factors in Bocchino’s work, there is no lack of optimism, fun, and joy.
Bocchino’s work has been featured since 1985 in a range of institutions such as The Morris Museum of Art (Morristown), The New Jersey State Museum (Trenton), ArtHaus (San Francisco), Campo & Campo (Antwerp), Studio Bocchi (Rome), la Galerie du Tableau (Marseille), and Galleria d'Arte III Millennio (Venice). Furthermore, the artist and her work have been the subject of four films. The latest of which— “A Dream of Blue,” directed by Greg Smith of Down the Line Productions—has received the 2009 Best Inspirational Documentary Award from the New York International Film and Video Festival. Of special interest in this show is the catavideo with music by Pat Metheny.
“iPOP: Mixed Media Installation” by Serena Bocchino
Through December 5, 2009
531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor, New York City 10001