Sandra and Gerald Fineberg
FRANCESCA DIMATTIO Banquet
FRANCESCA DIMATTIO Banquet July 3, 2010 – August 14, 2011 Francesca DiMattio populates her paintings with renderings of geometric tiled floors, delicate lace, utilitarian ladders, and dramatic architectural elements, weaving together this seemingly disparate imagery through pattern. A native New Yorker, DiMattio imbues her canvases with the frenetic energy of an urban landscape that is constantly reinventing itself. The landscape surrounding the ICA is also in a state of flux, whether given the new construction in a developing neighborhood or the constant activity on the water. Inspired by the museum’s location on Boston Harbor, DiMattio created Banquet, which unfolds across five canvases, to engage the site. The transparency of the ICA lobby’s glass walls erases the typical division between inside and outside created by opaque building materials. Banquet reflects this slippery shift between interior and exterior space: a solid archway abruptly opens out to a stormy sea, the spidery leaves of a palm tree intertwine with the pattern of a tiled wall, and birds in flight burst forth from a doorway. DiMattio is interested in what she calls “in-between space,” which is “both built up and torn down; both decorated and decayed.” Opposing forces and contradictions abound in her work, as her subjects appear at once feminine and masculine, delicate and strong, manmade and natural, heroic and fragile. Presenting traditionally “feminine” craft forms such as needlepoint and basket weaving at monumental scale is just one example of this dynamic juxtaposition. DiMattio’s source material ranges from high-end fashion and design magazines to images pulled from art history
books to pieces of furniture in her studio. In her topsy-turvy world, the delicate wire structure of a Bertoia chair—an icon of modern design—intertwines with the masts and sails of a tall ship. Nothing is solid or whole; rather each object morphs into the next. Her painting influences are as varied as her subjects, informed by a range of art movements including the Hudson River School, Pointillism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, and folk still-life paintings. DiMattio’s painting calls to mind the spirit of its title, suggesting in its opulence and excess a feast on a grand scale, a boisterous affair full of revelry, and at the same time, a scene verging on collapse. Elements both coexist and destabilize one another, undermining the solidity of the physical world and recalling the transient nature of beauty and life. At times, there is an almost frenzied feeling of inclusion, as though DiMattio does not want to leave anything out, but through her editing process of cutting, layering, and painting over subjects she produces moments of calm amid the storm. In DiMattio’s painting, contradiction ultimately leads to clarity, as destruction begets regeneration.
Francesca DiMattio was born in 1981 in New York City, where she continues to live and work. She received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2003 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2005. Her paintings have been featured in group exhibitions including PortugalArte10, Lisbon, Portugal (2010); Francesca DiMattio and Garth Weiser, The Suburban, Oak Park, Illinois (2010); The 185th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy, New York (2010); 7:10, The National Arts Club, New York (2010); Abstract America, The Saatchi Gallery, London (2009); Master of Reality, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts (2009); and Size Matters: XXL, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York (2007). Solo exhibitions include Conduits Gallery, Milan (2010); Decollage, Locust Projects, Miami (2009); Salon 94 and Salon 94 Freemans, New York (2009); Unhinged, LAXART, Los Angeles (2007); and New Work, Salon 94, New York (2006). This is her first solo museum presentation. Francesca DiMattio, Banquet, 2010. Oil, acrylic, and photocopies on canvas. 9 ft. 4 in. x 30 ft. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo: Adam Reich
Bridget Hanson, Curatorial Associate
The Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, commissioned annually, is dedicated to monumental, site-specific works by leading contemporary artists. ICA interpretive programs and materials are made possible by significant support from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation.
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