Is it possible to narrate an artistic path from a work’s dimension?
This question is the narrative thread of the exibition project by the idea of Studio d’Arte Raffaelli for Artefiera 2023 and for its continuation in the gallery too. This was possible thanks to the works of the artists Donald Baechler, James Brown, Ronnie Cutrone, Jan Knap, Gian Marco Montesano, Ray Smith and Philippe Taaffe. Their names assemble a constellation of identies from the gallery, wich, even if it is characterized by an eclectic capability of extend stylistically, geographicaly and temporaly in the selection of the artists, was able to mantain a dinstinctive focus linking with a generation of american artists from the 80s and with the artistic medium.
“XL xs” is a tribute to “XL + XS”, a personal exhibition by Donald Baechler that was held in 2009 at the MACI Museum of Isernia, taking up its concept and extending it to a greater number of artists. The exhibition highlights a comparison not only between artists, but also between their production, in XL format and smaller works, identifying divergences and touchpoints that are made explicit also in the use of different techniques.
The selection of the works was therefore mainly guided by the dimensions, but not only by that. For all the XL works, the most iconic and representative subjects of the production of these artists have been chosen: a red rose by Donald Baechler, a “Work agaist nature” by James Brown, a mixed technique by Ronnie Cutrone whose protagonist is Woody Woodpecker, a canvas that contains all the dense symbology of Jan Knap, young women dancing on the canvas by Gian Marco Montesano, a woman’s body in neo-surrealist style on Ray Smith’s panel, and an abstract work by Philip Taafe that incorporates elements oriental decorative. It can be said that these works, of museum importance, are already sufficient by themselves to offer an exhaustive cross-section of the artist’ production; but some of the best known series of works by James Brown dedicated to
Morocco. “XL xs” also proposes some approaches between artists in their touchpoints. Both Donald Baechler and Ronnie Cutrone were inspired by the work of Andy Warhol; James Brown and Philip Taaffe are distinguished by an innate formal elegance often accompanied by anthropological studies and cultured references; as well as the art of Ray Smith, capable of evoking
anthropological horizons of Mexican culture and the avant-gard of the twentieth century. More linked to the western pictorial tradition Jan Knap and Gian Marco Montesano, whose oils on canvas take up the ancient knowledge of classic Italian painting revisited in a contemporary key. With “XL xs” the Raffaelli Art Studio draws a line in the wake of its exhibition choices, in continuos evolution in the selection of new talents, but always linked to its history.