Hirschl & Adler Modern is pleased to present New Monuments, a solo exhibition of twelve recent paintings by Oakland-based artist Robert Minervini. This is the artist’s first show with Hirschl & Adler Modern and his first solo presentation in New York. Employing paint, collage and silkscreen to masterful effect, Minervini’s still life paintings are beautiful and dystopian. House plants and succulents populate shelves littered with the detritus of Eastern and Western Civilizations, begging the questions of what will grow and what will not. Each rich tableau stops time as the items on display rest in the niches of a nostalgic version of the future. Caught between yesterday and tomorrow, these signs and symbols lose their significance and become nothing more than ornamentation, like the flora around them: a visual statement indicative of painting now in the post-Internet age.
Recalling early computer graphics, the recesses and shelves in Minervini’s paintings simultaneously dictate illusionistic space while flattening it. This convention, built through linear perspective and its repetition, is diagrammatic and easily-accepted. Further, it serves as the architecture holding the composition together despite the clutter of disparate elements. Venus with the Apple, a California cactus, a bull’s skull, Asian pottery, an aerial photograph of a hurricane; the Rauschenberg ideal of the flatbed now itemized and placed on a shelf. Individual significance is lost in Minervini’s cabinet of curiosities as objects are reduced to a flatness visually and conceptually. Like a Google search, they are simply images; devoid of any context which would raise them to greater meaning. Selected and safe-guarded, the objects are left to wait for a time when they can be taken down and revered once more.
Through freehand painting, masking with tape and contact paper, silkscreening or simply pasting on the surface, the objects in these paintings are imbued with a life of their own by Minervini’s deft rendering. The virtuosity and beauty on display reflect the artist’s deep love for the act of painting. This adoration elevates the paintings beyond simple still lifes, as technical prowess and complex arrangements give way to deeper emotional and conceptual statements. These are paintings that grow.
Robert Minervini (b.1981, Secaucus, NJ) works in painting, drawing, printmaking, murals, and site-specific public art. His work examines spatial environments and notions of utopia in large-scale cityscapes, landscapes, and floral still-life arrangements, all of which address the ecological impact of humanity. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Minervini has an extensive exhibition history and has participated in artist-in-residence programs at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; the Headlands Center of the Arts, Sausalito, California; the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont; and the Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California, among others. His work has been reviewed and published in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Ltd. Magazine, Beautiful Decay Magazine, and New American Paintings. He has completed multiple public art works through the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the San Francisco Arts Commission. He currently lives and works in Oakland, California. This is Minervini’s first solo exhibition with Hirschl & Adler Modern.
Robert Minervini New Monuments opens at Hirschl & Adler Modern on Thursday, March 14 and runs through Saturday, April 20, 2019. Located on the 9th floor of the Fuller Building, at the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue, Hirschl & Adler Modern is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm, and Saturday, from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm.