March 18 - April 23, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, March 18, 6-8 PM
It is with utmost pleasure that Corbett vs. Dempsey presents Themesong Variations , an exhibition of new work by John Sparagana. This is the artist’s third solo show at CvsD.
Extending and intensifying the method of image making (and unmaking) that he has employed for a decade, Sparagana has spent the last two years deep in the comics, with very serious results. The latest of a series of fully realized bodies of work, Themesong Variations culls its material from the pages of Dick Tracy . Where previous investigations have, to one degree or another, left the source images intact, or at least retrievable, in the new works the images are by and large abstracted, their protagonist’s trademark square chin and sharp hat present more as an inference, a lurking presence, than a definitive image. And for a painter, which is how Sparagana started his artistic life (and how he still identifies himself), these works have all the elements of a painting – urgency of line, modulation of palette, passages of energy and stillness that lend an uncannily gestural quality to a detourned image from popular culture. The scale has shifted, as well, moving these works into the arena of large canvases, upwards of eight feet tall, which allows the viewer to occupy many different points of vantage, from the microscopic (up close the image is shattered, obliterated into sheer Brownian motion) and macroscopic (from a distance the image starts to congeal, teasingly, at the edge of deciperability). Arguably his most ambitious and accomplished work to date, the Themesong Variation works, which are technically cut paper collage of 1/8-inch squares mixed and laid down onto Dibond aluminum, open a whole new universe of potential for image intervention and reinvention.
Themesong Variations is accompanied by a 28-page, full color catalog with text by Benjamin Chaffee, John Corbett, Jim Dempsey, Julia Fish, Matthew Goulish, Emily Letourneau, Albert Oehlen, and David Schutter.